Insurer helps public decipher benefit form
28 September 2005, AMSTERDAM — health insurance company 'De Friesland' is setting up 23 centres in the north of the Netherlands to help people fill in the form used to apply for benefit to help pay for health insurance.
28 September 2005
AMSTERDAM — health insurance company 'De Friesland' is setting up 23 centres in the north of the Netherlands to help people fill in the form used to apply for benefit to help pay for health insurance.
The insurer said it has received 3,000 from people having difficulty completing the form but could not contact the Tax Office, or Belastingdienst.
The tax office has been flooded with 30,000 calls since it started sending out the forms on 12 September.
The idea being that the bureaucracy was pro-active - sending out the application form without the public having to request it. But there are a mounting number of complaints - particularly from the elderly - that the forms are difficult to understand.
Fifteen members of the insurance companies staff have undergone training by tax officials and they will begin a tour of libraries in the north of the country from 5 October to help members of the public fill in the form.
Health insurance will become more expensive when a new health insurance system comes into effect on 1 January 2006. Children are insured free of charge but adults will have to pay a premium estimated to be about EUR 1,100 annually.
Everyone is obliged to have insurance and to ensure the lower paid don't fall through net due to the high cost, an estimated 6.1 million people, including many elderly people, in the Netherlands are eligible for the monthly benefit, or zorgtoeslag in Dutch.
Single people living on EUR 25,068 or less will be eligible for about EUR 400 a month from the tax office to meet the cost of the higher health insurance premium.
People who return the completed benefit application forms by 1 November will get the first payment into their account by 1 December, the tax office has said.
But 'De Friesland' warned many people received the applications later than planned or not at all and therefore it will take a big effort to have the forms returned by the end of October.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news