The colorful wolf

June 22, 2010

Health insurance in the Netherlands

Filed under: Dutch — randy @ 21:14

Well, I got another nice surprise this morning, while researching health insurance in the Netherlands. Personally I think insurance companies are the biggest scam of the 21st century, but health insurance is mandatory in the Netherlands and you’re doing something illegal if you’re in the country without health insurance. It disgusts me that I have no choice in the matter.

The nice surprise is this: since I never unregistered myself as a Dutch citizen, as far as the government is concerned I’ve been living here in the Netherlands for the past 4 years. Uninsured. Wondering if this was going to pose a problem when applying for health insurance I searched a bit and scared myself with the result: if you’ve been uninsured for any period of time, you have to pay back the monthly insurance costs plus a 30% fine. For my 50+ months of staying in Japan that amounts to thousands and thousands of euros…

Oh dear. Sounds pretty bad. If only I had unregistered when I left Holland… I called up an insurance company to ask about my situation, and fortunately they were very understanding. They told me that I could send a copy of my job contract as proof that I had been working in Japan as an alternative to citizen registration, and then I could just start afresh without paying any money for the four years that I’ve been gone. Whew!

On a side note, my natural aversion to insurance has led me to research the possibility of not having insurance at all. This page (in Dutch) tells me that it is indeed possible to escape the mandatory health insurance in the Netherlands if you claim that because of your personal convictions you disagree with the concept of insurance in general. The page further describes that, if, because of your personal convictions, you are not paying money for insurance, you still must ‘pay a part of your income’ instead, which happens to be the exact same amount as the  insurance policy would have cost. This whole insurance business is just too silly for words.

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3 Comments »

  1. Hey Randy,

    I agree with you, Insurance (as Banks) are the biggest money stealer. Still we should be glad that in our European countries, hospitals do not let people die in front of their building because they have no money to pay (as opposite to US). You pay for the rest of the society.
    Also, when you see price of Hospital, you will be glad to have an insurance if needed… When I had health problem in Japan, I can tell you that the bill was big. I was glad I had an insurance to pay instead of me.

    Comment by MatF — June 23, 2010 @ 10:17 | Reply

  2. Your aversion against health insurance or the concept of insurance is not really rational. Some events have such a big negative downside that you would be unable to deal with it, and you pay to transfer this risk to a 3rd party. Paying for insurance against something as losing your phone – something a lot of people do – is usually not really smart since almost everybody is able to buy a new phone when needed, so there is no reason to pay a premium to transfer this risk to someone else.

    And it makes sense too that you don’t have a choice with some types of insurance. If you get ill, you don’t want and have health insurance, and you are unable to pay the bills; what then?

    Comment by Hielko — June 23, 2010 @ 12:31 | Reply

  3. I appreciate the concept of health insurance, I just don’t like it that it’s forced on me. Admittedly I could get in a car crash tomorrow and break my legs and my arms and my skull, which would be slightly troublesome if I didn’t have health insurance. The chance of me getting into a car crash is smaller than 1%, I’m willing to wager. (I don’t leave the house much and I don’t drive a car) – therefore, I believe it should be up to myself, and not the government, to balance the risks vs rewards in this situation. Whether or not health insurance is useful or not is situation dependent and varies from person to person.

    Comment by rheide — June 23, 2010 @ 12:37 | Reply


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