Dutch healthcare: is it worth switching to a new health insurer?

stethoscope and banknotesThe six-week window for changing health insurers is now open. The average rise in premiums for a full year is around €50 but the difference between the most expensive and the cheapest health insurance policies is more than €300. So is it worthwhile checking your current policy?

Health insurance companies have all now revealed their new policies and premiums for 2016. In September, the government said it expected the cost of a basic health insurance package to increase by more than €7 a month. Yet, according to research by ZorgWijzer.nl and the national health authority, the actual increase is closer to €4. That might not seem a lot when you consider the hassle of changing, but you could save hundreds of euros by making a switch. You can check whether your current policy offers best value for money and still suits your needs using the English comparison tool developed by ZorgWijzer.nl.

In the Netherlands, people are free to choose the health insurance policy that best suits them, although the government is still in charge of determining basic standards. Each year around one million people take advantage of the change-over window in November and December and move to a new insurer.

Changes to health insurance in 2016

A number of things will change regarding the basic health insurance policy in 2016. For starters, the yearly statutory excess (own-risk payment) will increase from €375 to €385. In addition, some treatment by specialist sports injury doctors will be included in the basic health package and parents will no longer have to contribute towards hearing aids for their children. Other changes involve slightly higher patient contributions for hair prostheses, orthopedic shoes, medical transportation and maternity care.

Besides the basic health insurance, consumers may choose one or more supplementary packages. These cover expenses that are not included in the basic healthcare package, such as dental care, physiotherapy and alternative therapies. Premiums vary significantly, depending on the chosen cover, and it is crucial to make sure you really know what you are getting for your money.

Finding a suitable health insurance policy can be a time-consuming process. ZorgWijzer.nl offers several guides and a useful English tool to help you find a suitable and affordable health insurance policy for 2016.