Low institutional trust in health insurers in Dutch health care

Hans Maarse*, Patrick Jeurissen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A central element of the 2006 health insurance reform in the Netherlands is strategic purchasing by health insurers. After a brief elaboration of the concept of trust this article discusses the trust of insured in the new purchasing role of health insurers. There are various indications of a trust problem or credible commitment problem in Dutch health care. Insured say to trust their own health insurer (specific trust) but also say to have little trust in the behaviour of health insurers in general(institutional trust). The article briefly explores four models to explain the trust problem: the lack-of information model, the anticompetition model, the pro-profession model and the political communication model. A critical analysis demonstrates that the 'objective ground' for low institutional trust is rather questionable. Low trust seems to be based more on perceptions than on the insurers' objective purchasing behaviour. The article ends with a discussion on some potential strategies to address the trust problem. Low institutional trust may be something insurers have to live with. (C) 2018 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-292
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Trust
  • Health insurance
  • Purchasing
  • Managed care backlash

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