Dutch Healthcare Authority

Due to the aging of the population, the demand for healthcare continues to increase. This results in an ever-increasing pressure on the healthcare sector. Healthcare is expensive, and the expenses are increasing. In order to still get good, affordable and accessible care for everyone in the future, the money going into the health care sector should be spent as durable and efficient as possible. This is one of the main reasons for introducing regulated competition in the health care sector.

The new health care system

Since 2006, we have a new health care system in the Netherlands. More competition was introduced to the sector and health insurers & healthcare providers have more freedom in negotiating about the prices of a treatment for example. This freedom means that there are fewer rules; more has been left to the responsibility of the insurers and healthcare providers. Also, people can choose their own health insurance and healthcare provider, for which good and clear information is required.

Founding of the Dutch Healthcare Authority

To regulate the entire process the right way, the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZA) was established in 2006. The NZA acts as an independent regulator in the healthcare market. If certain consumer interests are at stake, the NZA will most likely intervene.

The NZA oversees and ensures that all parties abide the laws and regulations, for example:

  • The Health Insurance Act (Zvw)
    This law, introduced in 2006, states that all people living in the Netherlands and people who live abroad but receive income from employment in the Netherlands are required to have health insurance (in other words, you should be insured under the EMEA/AWBZ ). The Health Insurance Act also states that health insurers are obliged to accept everyone.
  • The Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ )
    This is a mandatory collective insurance for expenses that are not reimbursed through an individual health insurance.
  • The Healthcare Market Act (WMG )
    This Act, also introduced in 2006, states the conditions of dealing with the regulated competition in the health care market.

Other tasks Dutch Healthcare Authority

Another task of the NZA on one hand is to determine the rates and regulations for the regulated part of the healthcare market and on the other hand to establish the preconditions for the liberalized part of the healthcare market.
The NZA also has the important task of developing new policies and regulations and monitoring developments in the market. The NZA is an independent administrative body and performs its (governmental-) tasks independently. The interests of the consumers are always their main focus point.