Dietary, stop-smoking advice not part of health insurance: survey

An overwhelming majority of people think help with stopping smoking or losing weight should be taken out of the basic Dutch health insurance package, according to a new survey.

In addition, 92% do not think complications arising from cosmetic surgery or piercings should be included in basic cover, the survey by health research institute Nivel shows.

In particular, if people feel that a health problem could have been prevented by a healthier lifestyle, support for insurance cover tails off, spokeswoman Judith de Jong said. ‘This is where solidarity reaches its limits,’ De Jong is quoted as saying.


Around 50% think physiotherapy, orthodontic help and flu vaccinations should be covered up to the age of 22. There is also clear support for putting dentistry for adults, antacids, glasses and contact lenses at least partly back into the basic package.

But just 9% think anti-smoking programmes should be paid out of health insurance premiums. Fewer than one in four people also support paying for dyslexia treatment out of general resources or giving childless women more than three rounds of fertility treatment.

Health minister Edith Schippers has already said further cuts in the basic healthcare package are unavoidable to stem rising costs. She has called for a debate on what would be acceptable.

The basic healthcare package for adults currently costs around €100 a month, but includes an own-risk element of at least €360 a year.

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