Tuesday 10 December 2019

Little change in health insurance premiums in 2020, so what should you do?

Photo: Depositphotos.com

If you are considering switching health insurer, all the big health insurance companies have now published their premiums for next year. And there is bad news in particular for people with a collective policy – because their discount is being halved.

Health insurance premiums are going up marginally in price for the basic package next year, according to an overview by Zorgwijzer.nl.

While some policies will actually be slightly cheaper,  the price differences between policies is increasing yet again. In fact, the price gap between the cheapest and most expensive health plan is considerable: over €40 every month.

Are you paying too much? Zorgwijzer offers an English comparison tool for switching to a new insurance plan.

Average price

At the presentation of its annual budget in September, the government said it expected health premiums would rise by €3, while the deductible excess (eigen risico or own-risk element) will remain the same at €385 (although you can increase this to €885 in return for lower premiums).

So why are premiums beating the government forecast?  Zorgwijzer spokesman Koen Kuijper says there are a variety of reasons why health insurance costs are generally going up.

‘Firstly, the demand in healthcare is increasing as a result of population ageing and a growing number of people with chronic health conditions,’ he says. ‘This means an automatic rise in spending. In addition, agreements have been made to increase wages for healthcare staff. And finally, hospital treatments and medication is simply becoming more expensive.’

Price differences

Kuijper also points out that the price gap between insurance plans and companies is huge. ‘Price differences are the result of differences between the terms and conditions of the available insurance plans because every policy has to offer the same base level of care,’ he says.

‘With some plans the person insured can chose their own hospital or care provider but this is not the case with all of them. And some insurance firms have bigger financial buffers so they can absorb the cost of increased healthcare more easily than others.

Bad news for people insured via their job

On another note, collective insurance policies which you can sign up to via your work or perhaps a club, are becoming less favourable, because the government is cutting the maximum discount from 10% to 5% next year.

Two out of three people have a collective health plan, usually through their employer and research has shown very few are aware of the changes. Ask your HR department if you are not sure if you are insured through work.

Research also shows there are numerous cases where individual insurance plans are actually cheaper than those set up through a collective. This particular trend will become even more prominent next year.

Shopping for a new health insurance (in Dutch: zorgverzekering) will definitely pay off in most cases.

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