Dutch system compared to other EU countries

Healthcare insurance is deeply integrated into the healthcare systems across European countries. Nevertheless, there are some major differences between these insurances and systems across different countries. For example, some countries only provide basic coverage while other countries have universal health care systems. On this page, we will provide you with an overview of some different healthcare systems in various European countries.

The Netherlands

Since 2006 the healthcare system in the Netherlands has changed. Nowadays, the country has got a system in which insurance is compulsory. This means that everybody in the Netherlands is obliged to have basic insurance at a private insurance company. Additionally, ex-pats and foreign students working in the Netherlands are obliged to take out Dutch health insurance. Children under the age of 18 are automatically included in their parents’ policy, and lower-income groups receive special assistance.


Healthcare in Switzerland is universal and is regulated by the Swiss Federal Law on Health Insurance. There are no free state-provided health services, but private health insurance is compulsory for everyone residing in Switzerland (within three months of taking up residence or being born in the country). Health insurance covers the costs of medical treatment and hospitalisation of the insured. However, the insured person pays part of the cost of treatment. This is done by means of an annual deductible and by a charge of 10% of the costs over and above the excess up to a stop-loss amount. In Switzerland, people are free to choose their own healthcare provider. The healthcare system mixes private and public healthcare providers. The insurance companies are independently allowed to set prices.


In Denmark, health insurance and medical care facilities are the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs. The Danish public health insurance scheme is a residence-based system. If you live in Denmark and are registered in the Danish Civil Registration System, you are entitled to all public healthcare benefits. Public authorities carry the costs, but in return, the Danish people have to pay high taxes.


The French healthcare system is mostly funded by taxes and offers its citizens partial health insurance. Usually, employers sign up their employees for social contributions, and a premium is deducted from their salaries through taxes. Whenever someone requires medical treatment, up to 70% of their medical costs are already covered by national health insurance. Residents can cover the remaining 30% by non-profit private insurers, mutualities, or private health insurance companies, which they must pay themselves. An exception is made for long-term diseases, in which case 100% of the costs are refunded.


In Germany, there are two different types of healthcare insurance, private healthcare insurance and law-enforced healthcare insurance. These law-enforced healthcare insurances are so-called sickness funds. They have the same rates for all the members. For those who have an income below a certain level, there is compulsory insurance, which is provided by a non-profit organization.


In Ireland, they have a public healthcare system that is paid for by taxation. The patients might have to pay an additional fee for several medical treatments. However, for certain forms of care, citizens are not expected to pay themselves. For example, maternity care is fully paid for by the government, as well as health care for children under 6 months of age.


In Norway, the government finances the healthcare system. The government pays the hospitals, and the costs for doctor visits are rather low. Moreover, medicines are provided at market prices. Private healthcare does exist and is mainly used for dental care purposes.

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