Netherlands Citizens Dodging Insurance Premiums – Why Pay When You Get It For Free
Posted Oct 19 2009 10:02pm
It appears our neighbors in Europe are not crazy about health insurance premiums as well, but now there’s an effort to begin payroll deductions for those who have not paid. Unlike here, the policies cannot be terminated for non payment, and citizens have a legal entitlement to healthcare. It is mandatory to take out basic coverage and supplemental is available too if one desires it. This sounds pretty complicated too, and if they don’t pay, how do insurance companies stay in business, just an economics question here. Would just a straight out over all tax solve the issue without private enterprise? This one too is a tough debate it appears. BD
Some 100,000 inhabitants of the Netherlands have never paid the compulsory basic medical insurance premium since the system was introduced four years ago, according to health ministry figures.
A further 200,000 people are more than six months behind on their payments. A total of 600 million euros of premiums remain unpaid.
However, this month the health ministry will start collecting payments from premium dodgers by making deductions from their salaries or state benefits. Up to now it has been up to health insurance companies to chase up the premiums they are owed – a costly and time-consumingtask.
The fact that they have not paid their premiums does not prevent people from obtaining medical treatment. Because everyone in the Netherlands has a legal entitlement to health care, it is not possible simply to terminate the policies of non-payers. Legislation which came in to force on 1 September provides for salary and benefit deductions of 100 euros a month in premiums, plus a 30-euro fine.
Now everyone has to take out a mandatory basic medical insurance with the insurance company of their choice. The insurers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of risk, and the basic policy covers the majority of medical treatment. Policyholders are free to take out supplementary packages to pay for treatment ranging from dental care to complementary medicine. The basic premium ranges from around 70 to 95 euros, depending on the policy excess. There is a mandatory excess of 155 euros. People on low incomes are entitled to compensation in the form of a tax bonus.