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Healthcare System in the Netherlands

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Healthcare System in the Netherlands

Type of Healthcare System

The healthcare system in the Netherlands is described as "publicly regulated, but privately-delivered" (Dudgeon, 2007, p. 7). Healthcare coverage in the Netherlands consists of a combination of both universal mandated coverage and private insurers as the basis of carriers to promote competition within the market. The Health Insurance Act of 2006 enacted a policy of requiring all people who live and work in the Netherlands to buy private health insurance. Individuals have the choice to receive health insurance through their employer although the employer is not required to provide health insurance benefits. Private insurance companies may charge any premium yet there is competition between carriers to keep their premiums affordable to make themselves marketable ("Dutch health care system", 2007).

Cost to the Individual Patient

According to the Health Insurance Act, people are taxed at 6.5 percent the first €30,000 of income. A deductible of about €170 is expected to be paid for any medical service and this may be higher if one chooses lower monthly premiums.

The individual patient could expect to pay around €100 (Euros) per month equivalent to about $150.00 US in 2009 for a basic package. The premium is evaluated yearly by health insurance carriers and the standard premium is set by the Ministry of Health. Policies vary, as in the US, and policies with more extensive coverage will be more expensive ("Healthcare: the medical system", 2009). Children up to the age of 18 are exempt from premiums; insurance is received at no cost and children are not added on to their parents plan.

Access of Care

Health insurers are required to provide a "basic package" and costs of supplements to this package may vary from different private insurers for all individuals, hence the theory of the competitive market. The basic package includes: all medical care services including primary care visits, hospital care, specialist care, and obstetrical care, hospital stays, medical equipment, certain prescriptions, prenatal care, transport including, ambulance transfers, and paramedic care ("Healthcare: the medical system", 2009). Healthcare in the Netherlands does provide everyone access to healthcare and does not exclude anyone from receiving healthcare and renders it equally ("Comparing international health care systems", 2009).

Limitations to Care

Every individual in the Netherlands has access to health care. An individual may purchase supplemental health insurance or pay directly for more healthcare services such as dental care beyond annual checkups for adults (children are covered), eyeglasses, cosmetic surgery, and physical therapy. Over ninety percent of the Dutch population carries supplemental insurance (Stewart, 2010).

Patient Satisfaction

Information is provided on line by the Dutch government comparing all insurance companies and offers information on provider and facility

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