More than 170 thousand people have no health insurance

  • Two thirds of uninsured have foreign background
  • 20 to 40-year-olds make up more than half of uninsured
  • Benefit recipients rarely uninsured

On 1 May last year, 171 thousand (1.0 percent) of Dutch residents had no health insurance. Provisional figures released by Statistics Netherlands show that people with a foreign background are more often uninsured than native Dutch. A remarkable proportion of uninsured come from the new EU member states. More than half of uninsured are in their twenties and thirties. Data on 2008 are not compatible with those referring to preceding years.

On 1 May last year, 3.6 percent of people with a foreign background were uninsured, as against 0.4 percent of native Dutch. A noticeable proportion of people from the new EU member states Bulgaria, Poland and Romania and the United States of America (US) have no health insurance. US citizens and people from a number of other western countries are often insured in another way in their country of origine. Yet, they do not meet the requirements of the Dutch Health Insurance Act.

In absolute terms, most uninsured in the Netherlands have a non-western foreign background and predominantly come from the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, Turkey, Surinam, Morocco and China.

There is an obvious difference between the first and second generations: 1.0 percent in the second generation have no health insurance against 6.1 percent in the first generation.

More than half of uninsured concerns people in their twenties and thirties. In the age category 25-60, more men than women are not insured against medical costs; 58 percent of all uninsured are men.

On 1 May last year, 0.4 percent of alle benefit recipients had no health insurance. This is far below the average for the entire population.

The figure for 2008 is considerably lower than earlier figures about the amount of uninsured in the years 2006 and 2007 (more than 240 thousand and 230 thousand respectively). There are clear indications that the estimates for 2006 and 2007 were too high. Various health insurance companies have underreported as a result of initial problems in 2006 and 2007. In the first publication in 2007 with figures on 2006, it was already pointed out that underestimation of the number of insured automatically led to overestimation of the number of uninsured.