Saturday 28 November 2020

Health insurance to rise by €58 a year in 2021 and switching pays off

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The annual window for changing health insurance is almost upon us, and health insurance companies have been publishing their new premium rates. Here’s what you need to know.

The average Dutch health insurance premium will go up by €58 in 2021, according to an overview by health insurance website Zorgwijzer. The premium increase is in line with what the government expected when it presented its annual budget in September.

The four largest insurance companies, Zilveren Kruis, VGZ, CZ and Menzis have raised their basic insurance premium by €3,  €4.50,  €8.65 and €7 per month respectively. Combined, the four insurers account for 85% of the total market in the Netherlands.

According to the insurers, the main reason for the rise in premiums are the higher salaries for healthcare staff and that the extra cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic will only account for a small part.

Averages don’t tell the full story

As a result of the premium increase, policy holders will end up paying €4.82 per month more on average for basic health care.

But averages like this don’t tell the full story, says Zorgwijzer’s Koen Kuijper.  ‘On the contrary, the individual plans differ more in price than ever before. According to our calculations, there is €504 price gap between the cheapest and most expensive basic health insurance plan on the market.’

Obviously, there are significant differences between these policies,’ says Kuiper, ‘but essentially they are comparable because the government determines what should be included in the basic package (basispakket).’

‘The real differences are in the supplemental or top up policies, which vary considerably and may contain items you don’t need at all,’ said Kuiper.  ‘Taking a closer look at your current plan and the alternatives could save you hundreds of euros.’

Shopping pays off

The Dutch consumer watchdog ACM has also pointed out that people who switch plans can save €50 to €60 by shopping around on an annual basis.

‘When comparing, it is wise to check the policy conditions carefully in order to avoid nasty surprises,’ Kuijper says.

Pay special attention to:

  • The number of hospitals and other care providers within the insurer network
  • The percentage of treatment you will have to pay if you use a healthcare provider outside the network
  • Limitations to allowances for drugs and medical aids

Information like this is easily found on Zorgverzekeringskaart.nl or a comparison website. Zorgwijzer is the only website with a fully functioning English comparison tool and English customer service.

Deadline

Those who want to change their insurance scheme must do this before the deadline on January 1 2021.

You do have up to the end of January to pick a new insurance plan, but only if you have cancelled your old plan before the end of this year. The insurance policy will then take effect retroactively.

What else changes?

Besides the higher premium there are a few other important things that will change next year:

  • People with low incomes will be compensated for the increase in the insurance premiums by a small increase in healthcare benefit.
  • A few new treatments and drugs are being included in the basic insurance package.
  • The income-related healthcare insurance contribution goes up with 0.3% percent.
  • Covid-19 patients with long-term medical complaints are entitled to physiotherapy, occupational therapy and dietary advice through their basic insurance (this change is already in effect)

Good to know: the own risk payment or deductible excess (eigen risico) will remain the same in 2021: €385 per insured person aged 18 or over.

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