New law forces insurance premium dodgers to pay up

20th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

The Dutch government will deduct the premiums and fines from premium dodgers’ salaries or state benefits.

The Netherlands – Residents who have been dodging basic medical insurance premium payments for the past four years will no longer be able to so as the government will deduct the premiums from their salaries or state benefits.

As of 1 September, a new law was passed allowing premium of EUR 100 and EUR 30-fine to be deducted from dodgers’ salaries or state benefits.

Up till now, health insurance companies have been held responsible for chasing premiums that are owned by premium dodgers. The costly and time-consuming task is now taken over by the government.

About 100,000 residents 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 and as much as EUR 600 million premiums remain unpaid.

As the law in the Netherlands state that everyone has a legal entitlement to healthcare, premium dodgers have still been able to enjoy medical treatment.

Dutch health insurance system explained
After the Dutch health insurance system was reformed in 2006, 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 EUR 70 to 95, depending on the policy excess. There is a mandatory excess of EUR 155. People on low incomes are entitled to compensation in the form of a tax bonus.

However, the universal entitlement to healthcare does not extend to illegal immigrants, who are not able to obtain insurance.

The Dutch health system’s treatment of illegal migrants recently came in for criticism from campaigning organisation Doctors of the World. Although there is a government fund to compensate certain hospitals for treating illegal migrants, in practice many illegal migrants are forced to pay up front or do without medical care.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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