Healthcare insurance premiums for active civil servants double

POSTED: 01/15/14 11:53 AM

Measure saves government 13 million guilders

St. Maarten – Civil servants will have to pay 2.1 percent extra for their healthcare insurance in 2014 and 2015. This is due to the government’s decision to scrap the country’s contribution to the health care insurance premium for this year and next year. The measure saves the treasury 20 million guilders over the two years. Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever published the national decree that regulates the measure on the government’s website. In the same decree, the government establishes the country’s annual contribution to the General Fund Special Healthcare costs (AVBZ) at 25 guilders ($13.97) and reduces this contribution to zero for the next two years. The measure to set the contribution at 25 guilders per resident saves the treasury 2 million guilders per year and the measure to abolish it saves another million.

The government considers the measure regarding the AVBZ-fund proportionate because the fund is financially healthy with such an annual surplus that the cost saving measure will not affect the fund’s health.

Abolishing the country’s contribution to the premium for the healthcare insurance does not negatively affect the fund either, the government writes in the memorandum of elucidation. “The total percentage that will be contributed remains the same.”

The government acknowledges that the measure is an additional burden for citizens. “The premium percentage that will be asked from active employees will double for the period of two years. Nevertheless the government considers the measure proportionate given the large necessity for the government to take cost cutting measures.”

To soften the blow, the elucidation states that the measure is based on the principle of solidarity. “The premium is calculated based on the day-wages and this results in the fact that those who earn more also pay more. Thus the effect of the measure will be divided as proportional as possible.”

The government calculates the savings from these measures for 2014 at 13 million guilders, or around $7.25 million.

In previous years, governments budgeted 3 million for the contribution to the AVBZ-fund. By pinning the contribution per resident at 25 guilders, the contribution goes down to 1 million – resulting in a savings of 2 million guilders. Because the cabinet now wants to abolish the contribution altogether the remaining 1 million is also saved this year as well as in 2015.

The government will evaluate the measure in 2015 and then take a new decision about the country’s contribution to the AVBZ-fund.

Currently the premium for healthcare insurance is divided over employers, employees and the government. The government pays 2.1 percent of the total salary of active employees that use the insurance. Originally, the insurance is designed for the co-insurance of family members.

When St. Maarten was still a part of the Netherlands Antilles, the decision was already taken to abolish the contribution of 10 million guilders to this premium, but the decision was never executed. During the two years that the measure is in place, the employees will have to pay the premium. At the end of that period, the measure will also be evaluated.

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