Consumers should be very careful about renewing their health insurance with the same provider because shopping around can lead to lower premiums and better coverage, the consumers authority ACM and Dutch health council NZa said on Tuesday.
Most health insurance companies have now published their premiums for next year, ahead of the six week window during which people can switch insurer.
It is important for the healthcare insurance market that consumers look critically at their policies to improve quality and provisions, the ACM and NZa say.
Research shows 60% of people don’t do any research into different health insurance policies, because they are happy with what they have, can’t be bothered or can’t get to grips with the differences.
Meanwhile, the financial sector regulator AFM and the health council want comparison websites, which allow people to compare different health insurance firms, to be more transparent about their commercial interests.
The AFM published a list of points consumers should be aware of on Tuesday. In particular, the AFM warns people looking for a new health insurer that comparison sites may have made different deals with the insurance companies. This means different sites may have different prices for the same insurance package.
In addition, many comparison sites have a top 3 consisting of insurance companies which have paid to be included, so it is always worth looking outside the site’s main recommendations, the AFM said.
The country’s biggest insurance company Achmea is increasing its premiums by between 2.2% and 2.8% next year. By contrast, VGZ’s premiums will go up by up to 14%.
The big four insurance firms made combined net profit of €1.4bn last year.
The smaller insurance company DSW said in September its premiums will remain unchanged.
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