Senate backs new health insurance system
4 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Lower House of Parliament has given a green light to the total overhaul of the health insurance system in the Netherlands.
4 October 2005
AMSTERDAM — The Lower House of Parliament has given a green light to the total overhaul of the health insurance system in the Netherlands.
The current two-tier public-private system will be replaced by a universal basic package on 1 January 2006.
Senators voted 42-23 in favour of the controversial new health insurance law drawn up by Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst.
The new package offers coverage similar to that of the public ziekenfonds system but will cost more. Everyone must have health insurance. Children are insured for free but all adults will have to pay a premium. People can also pay extra for additional coverage.
To ensure the support of senators of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's Christian Democrats, Hoogervorst agreed that the government would step in if it emerged vulnerable groups in society were struggling to meet the higher cost of healthcare.
It has been estimated that the new insurance package will cost about EUR 1,100 per year. Insurance companies are to send their clients new health insurance offers before the end of the year.
Six million low-income households were issued with forms in September to apply for a rebate (zorgtoeslag) to compensate them for the higher premiums.
Under pressure from the Senate, the minister also agreed that Dutch people living outside the country would pay 8.8 percent rather than 12.55 of their basic income in tax to cover the cost of the exceptional medical costs system (AWBZ).
Any Dutch person or resident in the Netherlands who does not have health insurance on 1 May next year faces a fine.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news, healthcare in Holland