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Record Number of Dutch Switch Health Insurers for 2011

Over 1 million Dutch, roughly 7 percent of the total Dutch population, changed health insurers for 2011. This marks a significant increase from recent years, when an average of 300,000 to 400,000 people, or 1.8 percent to 2.4 percent, changed health insurance plans during the open enrollment period at the end of each year.

Since the current health system was implemented in 2006, all Dutch residents are required to purchase basic health insurance coverage. Coverage is provided by private health insurers and regulated under private law. Insurers are required to provide a basic benefits package defined by the government, and most Dutch also voluntarily purchase supplemental private health insurance for services not covered by the basic benefits package.

In 2010, the average annual premium for adults was €1,256 (US$1,715) with a variation of up to €275 between the least expensive and most expensive plans. (The government pays for the premiums for children up to age 18.). From 2010 to 2011, premiums for basic health insurance rose an average of €120. At the same time, changes were made to the basic benefit basket, such as dropping coverage for dental care for people ages 18 to 21, contraceptive pills from age 21, and antidepressants for a number of conditions, as well as adding coverage for smoking cessation courses. It is believed that this combination of premium increases and the changes in the basic benefit basket led a higher number of people than usual to look for both a cheaper basic plan and for supplemental insurance.


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