Four days to go: this is how to save money on your health insurance

The schemes aim to improve people's financial health.
The schemes aim to improve people’s financial health.

You’ve only got four days to decide whether or not to change health insurer this year, before the switching window closes at the end of December. You may ask yourself: but why should I change my current insurance plan?

The answer is simple: you may end up saving a large sum of money. Premiums may only have gone up marginally this year, but there is still a massive €492 gap between the most expensive and the cheapest policy.

Find out here how much you can save.

If you still have not yet made up your mind what to do, here are five things to consider:

1 Your collective plan may be too expensive

About two-thirds of the Dutch population is insured through a collective plan, set up by their employer or another organisation they are affiliated with. Research has shown that most people sign up for these plans because they offer a seemingly ‘attractive’ discount.

In fact, these discounts are usually paid out of your own pocket. Earlier this year, television consumers show Radar showed that people with a collective insurance plan pay on average €10 per month more than people with an individual health plan, without any discount.

In 2020, the government is going to cut the discounts on these policies to 5%. This means collective plans are becoming even less favourable. So be sure to cancel your collective plan by the end of the year, or you might end up paying too much.

2 Your cover may have changed

Your health insurance company is allowed to change the premium, cover and terms and conditions of your current health insurance plan every year. This is why the Dutch government now recommends everyone check whether their current health plan is still a good match.

In addition, perhaps there are alternative policies which are cheaper and better.

3 You may be over-insured

A lot of people in The Netherlands are over-insured. This means they pay a lot of premium for things that don’t really need.

So check out what, if any, supplementary policies you might need. For example, if your teeth are in good nick, it is generally cheaper to just go for a basic insurance and pay for for a dental hygienist yourself. That is usually much cheaper than picking a dental insurance with a minimum premium of €120 per year. And remember, children’s basic dentistry is covered by the basic health insurance policy free of charge.

Comparison site Zorgwijzer suggests you compare health insurance plans (in Dutch also known as: zorgverzekering vergelijken) to find out if you are paying too much.

4 Your premium can be lowered

Think about increasing the own-risk element to the maximum € 885. If you are healthy – and did not make much in the way of claims this year, it can be worth it financially – and it will save you up to €300 a year if you take the risk.

Your own risk deductible (eigen risico) is applied when using basic healthcare, such as:

  • Hospital care
  • Medication
  • Psychological help

Visits to your family doctor (huisarts) and supplemental insurance are exempt from own-risk payments.

5 Switching insurers is easy

A lot of people think that switching health insurance companies is difficult. The opposite is true: changing your health plan is really easy, especially when using Zorgwijzer’s English comparison tool.

This is how you do it:

  1. Compare your current plan with other offers
  2. Choose the desired plan and apply for the insurance online
  3. Your new insurance company will cancel your old policy by 31-12-2019
  4. Your new health plan will become active on 01-01-2020

After switching insurers, you have a 14 days reflection period, during which you have time to rethink your decision and even go back to your old plan. You can always cancel within these 14 days without giving a reason.

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