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"Vrijwillig eigen risico" health insurance distribution in the Netherlands 2020

If Dutch people used a so-called voluntary excess or voluntary own risk within their health insurance, a large majority would go for the maximum amount of 500 euros. In 2020, approximately 75 percent of Dutch people who decided to increase their health insurance risk did so with 500 euros. Since 2008, it is compulsory from the age of 18 to pay a certain amount of money within a year before the mandatory basic health insurance of the Netherlands starts reimbursing medical costs. This fixed value is commonly referred to verplicht eigen risico (which roughly translates in English as: mandatory excess or mandatory own risk), resets at the end of each year and the Dutch government can change the value size every year. In 2020, this value was set at 385 euros. Note that some types of healthcare are exempt from this fixed value, such as visits to a GP. Additionally, children and teenagers who are 17 years and younger do not have this.

This value of 385 euros can be voluntarily increased with either 100, 200, 300, 400 or 500 euros. By taking on this so-called vrijwillig eigen risico (in English: voluntary excess or voluntary own risk), one essentially increases the amount of money he/she needs to pay before reimbursements happen. There is a reward for this, though. In return for taking on this extra risk of potentially paying more medical costs, the monthly premium will decrease. The higher the voluntary excess, the less monthly premiums will have to be paid. This way, staying healthy and avoiding healthcare can be rewarded by having to pay less money for it. Should something happen and medical care be required, however, then there is a chance that the health insurance might not cover all costs or might not even kick in at all. Unless, of course, the 385 euros plus the voluntary amount was already reached at that point.

The idea behind this complicated system is that it is meant to show people how expensive healthcare is and to make them think twice before making use of it. Consequently, it also serves the purposes of keeping health expenses in the Netherlands to a minimum. In 2019, total health expenditure made up around 13 percent of total GDP in the Netherlands.

Share of individuals per chosen voluntary excess ("vrijwillig eigen risico") under the Dutch Health Insurance Act (Zvw) from 2010 to 2020

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

2010 to 2020

Special properties

One can choose to take 0, 100, 200, 300, 400 or 500 euros per year of additional risk on the public health insurance in the Netherlands, in return for monthly lower premiums.

Supplementary notes

* The figures provided for 2011 added up to a total of 101 percent because percentages were rounded by the source.

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Statistics on "Health insurance in the Netherlands"

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