Health premiums 'to rise more than 10pc'

17th February 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 February 2006, AMSTERDAM — Health insurance premiums will increase by more than 10 percent in 2007, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis has predicted.

17 February 2006

AMSTERDAM — Health insurance premiums will increase by more than 10 percent in 2007, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis has predicted.

The agency - best known as the CPB - said on Friday that the average annual premium could rise to EUR 1,160 next year. The average under the new health insurance system that came into force on 1 January this year is currently EUR 1,038. 

This is not the first warning of such an increase. Zorgverzekeraars Nederland, the umbrella group for insurance companies, said earlier this year its members could not sustain the current level of premiums. Premiums have been pitched at lower-than-realistic levels as insurance companies compete with each other to win clients.

All residents of the Netherlands, including expats, must have 'basis' coverage from a Dutch insurer under the new health insurance system. The basic coverage is similar to the medical care provided under the public Ziekenfonds system which it replaced. The premiums are higher for most people.

Middle and high-income earners must bear the full cost, though many have availed of the discounts offered by collective healthcare agreements arranged through their employer or labour union.

Low-income earners may apply for compensation (zorgtoeslag). If the premiums rise, the government will have to assign more funds to the compensation system.

The green-left GroenLinks party wants to question Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst in parliament on Tuesday about the CPB's latest estimates. Hoogervorst said on Friday it was too early to say what level premiums will be set at next year.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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