Health insurance literacy in the Netherlands: The translation and validation of the United States' Health Insurance Literacy Measure (HILM)

Laurens Holst*, Aafke Victoor, Anne Brabers, Jany Rademakers, Judith de Jong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An important criterion for the proper functioning of a managed competition healthcare system, such as operates in the Netherlands, is that all citizens can make well-informed decisions regarding their health insurance policy. In order to achieve this, citizens need certain health insurance literacy skills. It is not known how far citizens in the Netherlands have these skills. The aim of this study is to provide a reliable instrument that measures the health insurance literacy of citizens in the Netherlands. It would be based upon an existing instrument developed in the US. We translated the US Health Insurance Literacy Measure (HILM) into Dutch. Furthermore, we established the psychometric properties of the Dutch version (HILM-NL), and we validated the HILM-NL in a general population sample by sending surveys to members of the Nivel Dutch Health Care Consumer Panel (DHCCP) in February and March 2020. The response rates were respectively 54% (n = 806) and 56% (n = 595). No insurmountable difficulties with equivalence were encountered throughout the translation process. The HILM-NL showed an acceptable level of internal consistency, good test-retest reliability, and a good construct validity. The HILM-NL is a reliable instrument for measuring health insurance literacy among citizens in the Netherlands. With this instrument, it is better possible both to assess how these citizens choose and use a health insurance policy, and also the difficulties they face. It enables citizens in the Netherlands to be supported better in making well-informed decisions on health insurance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0273996
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022

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