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Measuring health insurance literacy in the Netherlands – First results of the HILM-NL questionnaire.

Holst, L., Rademakers, J.J.D.J.M., Brabers, A.E.M., Jong, J.D. de. Measuring health insurance literacy in the Netherlands – First results of the HILM-NL questionnaire. Health Policy: 2022, 126(11), p. 1157-1162
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Background
There are several indications that citizens in the Netherlands struggle to make critical, well-considered decisions about which insurance policy best fits their needs and preferences. This can lead to citizens being sub-optimally insured, facing unexpected costs or suffering inadequate coverage. This study aims to examine how health insurance literacy (HIL) is distributed among citizens in the Netherlands; and to find out whether there are certain groups who have more difficulty choosing and using a health insurance policy.

Methods
We measured health insurance literacy using the HILM-NL questionnaire, the validated Dutch version of the original health insurance literacy measure (HILM). In February 2020, the HILM-NL was sent to 1,500 members of the Nivel Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel. The response rate was 54% (806).

Results
There is a wide variation in HIL among citizens in the Netherlands. The average total HILM-NL score is 55.14 (on a range of 21-84). The level of education and the household net income are significantly related to HIL.

Conclusions
Citizens who completed less education or earn a lower income are relatively more likely to have difficulty choosing a health insurance policy or using policy benefits to pay for health services once enrolled. It is important to support these vulnerable groups properly in their choice and use of a health insurance policy.
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