On 31 December 2006, 1.5 percent of Dutch adults had not paid the premium for their health insurance for more than six months, while they had taken out a health insurance policy. This is the equivalent of 190 thousand defaulters. Benefit claimants, one-parent families, unmarried couples with children and people with a foreign background were relatively often in default of payment. The defaulters account for around 17 million in unpaid premiums per month.
One and a half percent of defaulters
Since 1 January 2006, nearly everyone in the Netherlands is obliged to take out health insurance under the health care insurance act. According to the records of the insurance companies, on 31 December 2006 190 thousand people with a basic insurance package had not paid their premiums for at least six months. This is the equivalent of 1.5 percent of the adult population.
The number is lower than the 240 thousand defaulters reported by the insurance companies on 1 January 2007. The reason for this is that only residents of the Netherlands aged 18 years and older who are registered in a municipality in the Netherlands were counted. Moreover, the insurance companies have cleared their registrations and a number of people have paid their premiums in the meantime.
Income support and unemployment benefit claimants more likely to default
Although there are defaulters in all population groups, they are more likely to occur in some groups than in others. Among people on income support, 4.5 percent had not paid their premium for at least six months. This is three times as many as the average for the whole population. Persons with an unemployment benefit are more than twice as likely as average to default on their payments. Some 40 thousand of the 190 thousand defaulters are benefit claimants.
Health insurance premium defaulters on 31 December 2006 by type of benefit in November 2006
One parent families more likely to default
There were twice as many defaulters among single parents and unmarried partners with children than on average for the whole population. Married partners with children, on the other hand, are least likely to default on payments
Health insurance premium defaulters by position in household, 31 December 2006
People with a foreign background three times more likely to default
At the end of 2006, 3 percent of people with a foreign background had not paid their health insurance premium for at least six months. This is nearly three times the rate for the native Dutch population. The difference between people with a foreign background and people with a native Dutch background is mainly in the group not claiming benefit. Antilleans and Arubans are relatively less likely to pay their premiums (10 percent). Surinamese (6 percent) and Moroccans (4 percent), too, relatively often defaulted. More than 70 thousand of the 190 thousand defaulters had a foreign background.
Health insurance premium defaulters by ethnic origin, 31 December 2006
Kim de Bruin and Onno van Hilten