Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Health Insurance.
I went to a local office. I filled out a one page form and selected the basic single plan.
€97 a month, with a yearly €165 deductible for hospital stays.
A few days later, I get my letter of acceptance.
They gave me a list of local doctors, huisarts, where I should register myself.
I called a doctor, the assistant gave me an appointment for the same day after work.
At the doctor's office, there was no front desk, no request to photocopy my insurance card, no assistants, no medical billers sitting in wait. Instead, I was directed to the waiting room by other patients who explained that no, I didn't have to fill out some long form, just wait.
The doctor saw me and registered me himself using his computer.
I had forgotten my local social security number so he looked it up himself from the insurance company's already updated website.
No money was exchanged.



I have never in my adult life had such a reasonable and pleasant experience with health insurance and visiting the doctor.

Is there a catch?


  1. Alicia, watch out, you're encouraging people in the U.S. to buy into that SOCIALIST nonsense! If we were to have a system like that, our FREEDOM would fly right out the window! :D

    Clearly this is exactly what has happened in the Netherlands.

    I can't believe so many people think our (U.S.) medical system is a significant step above the nationalized systems in other countries. Sure, those systems have their issues too, but our system simply doesn't function, it's a complete disaster, much like many other things here. And when someone wants to actually change it for the better, all someone has to do is shout SOCIALISM and the whole process of change just flops over and dies.

    Enjoy it while you're there! :)

  2. Ha!
    I feel more free than ever before. The insurance isn't tied to a job! I can quit a job, start a new one, work part time, become self-employed, whatever with no 30 day waiting period for the health insurance to kick in, confusion over which prescriptions it will cover, weird reoccurring bills for $5 copays, etc.
    I will enjoy it and hope that things are straightened out in the U.S. by the time I return :)

  3. Heh, don't hold your breath :) I'd recommend just staying there :)

    On a not really related topic, because I saw your favorite beers in your sidebar, have you tried Duvel and/or anything from De Koningshoeven? :)

  4. Oh yes! Both delicious. Duvel is a favorite, yes, I should add it to the list :)
    I want to visit the Koningshoeven brewerij at some point. It's not too far... and there is a very nice beer bar in Amsterdam that specializes in Dutch beers (most here are from belgium) called Arendsnest.

  5. Better off staying there!

  6. Nice post - the sensible approach to medical care here is one of my favorite things about Holland. Second only to the bike paths. ;)

  7. @portlandize: Forget nationalized. The Dutch system is run by insurance companies which contract doctors and hospitals. The only thing the government does is checking that they don't overcharge. The trick is that part of the premium is withheld from income tax, and a miscreant insurer is punished by withholding that part of the premium. And of course patients are free to join a cheaper insurer. Works.