Healthcare in the Netherlands
By Ted Beust | Our Voice Contributor
In my last article we looked at universal healthcare in New Zealand. But let’s move to back to Western Europe and take a look at healthcare in the Netherlands.
Their version of universal healthcare is a bit different than the previous two countries because the Dutch system is based on private insurance plans that includes an individual mandate. Insurance companies cannot deny anyone with pre-existing conditions.
If you’re thinking this sounds very similar to the Affordable Care Act, you’re right.
But instead of having to add all the personal information first such as location and income, they show you the companies and prices. The average price of a basic premium is about €115.74, or $128.87 American dollars.
But once the premium is paid, services such as General Practitioner (that term seems to come up a lot – doesn’t it) visits, hospital visits, specialists, pharmaceutical drugs, and even emergency transport. You’re even reimbursed for care! However you can add supplemental insurance if something isn’t covered.
Despite the fact that the system sounds very similar to the ACA, there are some pretty stark differences. The first difference is coverage of children. Children in the Netherlands are covered for free until the age of 18: very handy if you or your children play sports. It’s paid for through their taxes – taxes spent on helping people instead of war – America take note. This is different in comparison to what it is in the United States, where the cut off for free care is age 26.
The second difference, as it was mentioned above, is the fact you’re actually reimbursed for whatever medical needs are requested. This is unlike America – where the insurance companies take your money and laugh all the way to the bank.
A third reason this system is different from the ACA is they advertise the companies and their plans, instead of the metal categories.
The fourth difference: no hospital can turn you away for care. This is because each hospital has a contracts with the available insurers. There are over 120 hospitals and over 11,000 GPs.
So as you can see, the Netherlands has healthcare down pat. It’s efficient, cheap in comparison to America’s private market, and kids are covered free of charge until they reach the age of 18.