Households’ share of health costs rises dramatically in 10 years

doctor euros healthcare costThe burden of healthcare spending has fallen increasingly on individual households in the decade since the current health insurance system was introduced, an investigation has shown.

Financial website Follow The Money compared data on health spending dating back to 2004, the year before private insurers began offering comprehensive cover on a competitive basis.

It found that in 2012 private households paid 54.2% of the total cost, compared to 46.6% in the last year of the old system. The share paid by the business sector has gone down from 23.5% in 2004 to 16% over the same period.

In raw terms the numbers are even starker. While the total contribution by businesses fell by €400,000 to €14.9m, the amount households paid in rose by 64.9% from €30.5m to €50.3m. The government’s share of the cost also fell in proportional terms from 27.3% to 24.6%.


The site also found the scale of the increase was obscured by changes to the way contributions are classified, such as including payments by self-employed individuals as ‘business’ rather than ‘household’ contributions.

Self-employed people have to pay the ’employer’ healthcare contribution as well as the premiums paid by private individuals.

The Netherlands has one of the most expensive healthcare systems in the world, according to figures from the OECD. Total spending per capita was equivalent to $5,131 in 2013, a figure surpassed only by Norway, Switzerland and the United States.

The national statistics office CBS, which compiled the figures on which Follow The Money’s breakdown was based, acknowledged that the website’s analysis was accurate and said it would include a similar analysis in future years.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation