To switch or not to switch?

All insurance providers have announced their premiums for 2019. Increases in premium are considerable (up to 12 € per month) but vary considerably from provider to provider.

In the period from mid November to 31 December you have the option to look for a better deal. For instance you can switch to another insurance provider or make changes to your policy.

This article from H4i (Healthcare for Internationals) presents a number of subjects that may help you to find out what is best for you and your family going into the new year:

  • Changing your current health insurance policy
  • Switching to another health insurance provider
  • Is it wise to change your level of excess (decuctible or ‘eigen risico’)
  • What supplementary insurance do you really need
  • Other ways to reduce your healthcare costs

 

Changing your current basic health insurance policy

What are the changes you may consider to your policy?

  • Change the type of policy you have: from a restitution policy to an in-kind (‘natura’) policy or even an budget policy. A restitution policy offers a free choice of healthcare provider, while a in-kind policy limits your choice to providers that have been contracted by your insurance company.
    If however your healthcare providers of choice are contracted, a cheaper in-kind policy may be the better option. Check with your insurance provider if they offer an in-kind policy and if this would be an attractive option. Some providers offer a combination (‘combinatie’) policy.

 

  • Change the level of excess: You may opt for voluntary excess (deductible or ‘eigen risico’) on top of your mandatory excess of € 385. If you go for a maximum of € 885 (€ 385 + € 500 voluntary excess) you may save 14-18% in premium (15-20 € per month) . Read Is it wise to change your level of excess in this Newsletter to see if this would be sensible to do.

 

  • Check if there is a special discount available: Many providers offer discount of up to 10% to members of sport associations, people that are self-employed, entrepreneurs or students (if they need a mandatory health insurance). Check with your insurance provider. Generally they will be helpful to find the discount-package (‘collectiviteit’) that applies to you.

 

  • Opt for a yearly instead of monthly payment: if you have the about € 1.400 it will take available, you’ll save about 2% in premium. This is a return you likely won’t have at your savings account.

Coverage: All basic health insurance policies (basispakket) by law cover the same medical services, treatments, diagnostics and medication. Changing this package is not an option.

If these steps don’t satisfy you, you may consider changing your health insurance provider.

 

Changing your health insurance provider

Now that all providers have announced their premiums it may well be attractive to switch. What should you take into consideration when looking for a health insurance provider with a lower premium:

  • Does your employer offer a corporate health insurance? Sometimes  these packages are financially more attractive then what is available elsewhere, but often you will be able to find a better deal.

 

  • What supplementary insurance do you need? While coverage for the basic health insurance is identical for all providers, coverage and premiums for other medical services like dental, physiotherapy or alternative medicine may differ.
    So before you change, check if the other provider offers the supplementary package you need at an attractive premium, otherwise a reduced premium for the basic package may be offset by a worse deal for your supplementary insurance. Also read the article: What supplementary insurance do you really need.

 

  • Level of service: When your are comparing health insurance providers check reviews by their customers.

 

  • Check out the options, premiums and discounts other insurance providers offer for the type of policy and level of excess that you are looking for. Policy types and excess levels are described in  the article Changing your Basic Health Insurance.

 

Is it wise to change your level of excess?

If you have been living for some time in the Netherlands, you should be able to check how much healthcare providers have charged you (or in most cases your insurance provider directly). Your insurance provider should be able to provide you with the total of claims made under your policy.

It should also be indicated what costs are subject to excess. These were cost you have ended up paying yourself to the maximum of your excess level.

If you expect that the level of claims for 2019 will not be (much) higher than the level of your current excess, it may be attractive to opt for a higher level of excess.

 

Article courtesy of the platform: ‘Healthcare for Internationals’. On this website you can read more on policy types, excess, exceptions for students or what to look out for when choosing a health care insurance.

Main picture: Mohamed Hassan

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