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Healthcare insurers 1870-1968: a research guide

Compiled by A.C.M. Kappelhof

Compulsory health insurance was only introduced in the Netherlands in 1941 as a result of pressure from the German occupying forces. A two-tier split that was made at the time between compulsory insurance for families that fell below a specific income level and the rest of the population who had to insure themselves privately has remained ever since. It is expected that the new Dutch Health Insurance Law that will come into effect in the Netherlands on 1 January 2006 will replace this system with a national insurance against medical costs.

For some considerable time before the decision in 1941 to set up the Dutch National Health Service was implemented there was a medley of different national health services. In 1941 almost half the Dutch population had voluntarily taken out this type of policy. It was in 1870 that the health inspectors first suggested to the Minister of the Interior that people who were not poor but who did have a low income should be compelled to sign up for national health insurance. Around 1890 many people thought that the government should set up a legally binding insurance for sickness benefit and medical expenses. The reason why it was such a long and drawn out affair and why a hostile power had to come up with it is a complicated story and one that is a source of immense fascination for both political and social historians alike.

This guide will help researchers find their way through archives containing information about insurance policies covering medical expenses. The guide has been laid out in the same way as the �extensive� guide to social security. It comprises two volumes that contain 47 archive descriptions and 17 specified entries to some of the archives researched. The research that was carried out for the guide was limited to the archives of regional organisations, such as umbrella organisations, consultative bodies, professional organisations, policy units within departments, political bodies and advisory boards.

A brief foreword and an extensive introduction are featured in the research guide.

The researcher is referred to the Onderzoekgids Sociale Zekerheid 1890-1967 which complements the guide.