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General News
More people opt to maximise health insurance own risk element 1/7/2018
One in four people are now opting for the maximum health insurance own risk payment of €885, according to research by comparison websites Pricewise and Independer. And a spokesman for comparison website Zorgwijzer.nl told DutchNews.nl they too had noticed an increase. ‘Last year 10.2% of our users opted for a maximum charge, but that has gone up to 13.1% this year,’ the spokesman said. The statutory own risk is €385 but people have the option to increase this by €500. In return, they benefit from a cut in their monthly premiums of up to €25. People who opt for the maximum are responsible for paying for the first €885 of insured treatment over the year. At the end of last year, Chris Oomen, head of the smaller insurance company DSW, wrote an open letter condemning the rising popularity of a maximum own risk payment. He said it was unjust that only healthy people are able to benefit from the premium discount.

A few Euros more – most workers will benefit from tax cuts this year

Most workers in the Netherlands will get a few more euros paid into their bank accounts this month because of changes to the tax system and other work-related premiums, according to salary processing firm ADP. People earning upwards of €56,000 a year, or twice the average pay, will have some €16 more a month to spend. People on average incomes or the minimum wage will earn some €7 more a month, ADP said. However, people earning €1,000 to €1,500 a month – mainly part-timers and youngsters on minimum youth wages – will take home a couple of euros less a month. This they will be able to claim back via their annual tax return, ADP said. Pensioners with a private pension scheme on top of their state AOW lose most. This is because they have to pay higher health insurance premiums, which people in work get paid by their employer. The increase in health insurance contributions will also have an impact on self-employed people’s income.

Strikes planned at both KLM and Air France next week: FD

Strikes are on the books for sister airlines KLM and Air France in the course of next week. Part of KLM’s cabin crew will strike on Monday 8 January while Air France pilots plan to strike over a security measure, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday. KLM cabin crew members are protesting cost reductions made last year which led to one cabin staff member less on 40% of intercontinental flights. The union involved, FNV Cabine, said work pressure had increased irresponsibly. The largest cabin staff union VNC is not taking part in the strike. Air France pilots are planning to strike next Thursday over a security measure. The French airline replaced a pilot on a flight on 2 January because he refused to depart without a purser who was sick. The pilot said this violated security regulations. French paper Les Echos quoted one of the leaders of the strike as saying: ‘We will not tolerate people who force us to contravene security regulations for the sake of profitability.’ The AF strike is seen as a test of the preparedness of KLM pilots for a strike, the FD said. The Dutch pilots are concerned about Air France plans to change its pension plan and adapt regulations for part-time work. Elsewhere, pilots at KLM’s budget subsidiary Transavia have been without a collective labour (CAO) agreement for more than a year. Transavia is aware strike action is pending, but says it expects a solution to the problem will be found following talks with pilots union VNV, the FD reported.

Railway bike sharing scheme soars in popularity; 3.2 million trips last year

A record number of journeys were made by people using the NS shared bike scheme last year. In total, users made 3.2 million trips, a rise of 33% on 2016, the AD said on Friday. NS scrapped the €10 subscription fee in January last year and the number of people using the distinctive blue and yellow two-wheelers has since soared from 200,000 to 500,000. It costs €3.85 to rent a bike and some 15,000 are now in regular use, spread across 300 railway stations nationwide. NS is planning to order a further 6,000 bikes this year, spokeswoman Corien Koetsier told the paper.

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