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Newsletter Health insurance 2020

Newsletter Health insurance 2020

Less discount on your health insurance premium

All insurance providers have announced their premiums for 2020. Premium changes vary from an almost 10 € increase to a 6 € decrease, resulting in an average premium increase of 1-2 € per month.

However, if you are getting a discount on your premium through your employer, union or association (‘collectiviteitskorting’), you may not benefit from a decrease of the standard premium. The maximum discount that insurance providers may extend will in 2020, by law, be reduced from 10% to 5%. If your insurance provider is increasing its premium and you are used to getting a 10% discount you will face a premium increase of well over 5 € per month.

Mandatory excess unchanged

The mandatory deductable (excess or ‘eigen risico’) for 2020 will not change and remains at € 385.

If you are entitled to receive a healthcare benefit, you may expect an increase of 5,50 € (individuals) to 8 € (families) per month, which well exceeds the average rise in premium.

How to get the best deal?

No matter what your situation is, from now on until the end of the year, you have the option to look for a better deal. You may switch for instance to another insurance provider or make changes to your current policy. Do so no later than December 31st!

This newsletter 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:

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Changing your current basic health insurance policy

Changes you may consider:

    • Change the type of policy you have: from a restitution policy to an in-kind (‘natura’) policy or even to a 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. Read more about policy types.
    • 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 15-20% 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. Read more about excess.
    • Check if there is a special discount available: Many providers offer discounts 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. In 2020 the maximum discount will be reduced from 10% to 5%, however.
    • Opt for a yearly instead of monthly payment: if you have the about € 1.400 it will cost 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 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? You probably have done so before, but if not check it out. Even though the discount on the basic health insurance premium for ‘corporate deals’ will be maximized to 5% in 2020, a corporate package may offer other benefits.
    • What supplementary insurance do you need? While coverage for the basic health insurance is identical at all insurance 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 you 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.

Beware before you change: your new provider will have to accept you for the basic health insurance, but not necessarily for your desired supplementary packages. Your application may be subject to Medical Acceptance and a Waiting Period may apply. For instance if you opt for supplementary dental insurance, there may be a waiting period of a year before you can claim any dental costs.

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 up to the maximum of your excess level. Read more about excess and an example how this works in practice.

If you expect that the level of claims for 2020 will not be (much) higher than the level of your current excess, it may be attractive to opt for a higher level of excess.

Example

  • if your current level of excess is 385 € and
  • the total claims subject to excess in 2019 were 450 €
  • You’ll save € 175 (= 240 € – € 65) in 2020 if you opt for the maximum level of excess (€ 385 + € 500 voluntary excess = € 885): You’ll save 240 € in premium (assumption) but will have to pay the extra costs not covered (450 € – € 385 = € 65)

Beware however: You cannot predict for sure what may happen to you. If you incur considerable higher costs of healthcare, you should be able to pay the additional charges of € 500, being the difference between the maximum excess (€ 885) and the mandatory excess (€ 385). If other family members (over 18 years in age) are also insured on your policy your ‘risk’ increases as they all may have more healthcare cost than predicted. You can also opt for a lower level of voluntary excess in steps from 100 € to 500 €. Read more about the total costs of healthcare and insurance you and your family may incur.

Some insurance providers offer coverage for the mandatory excess.

Changes in Basic health insurance coverage

The government determines the coverage and conditions of the basic health insurance.  These are the most important changes for 2020:

    • Compensation for overnight stay: If you have to be treated for several consecutive days in a hospital, but you are living far away, then you can get a compensation of maximally €75 per night. It must be for at least three consecutive days of treatment without hospitalization. You’ll get this compensation instead of the transportation costs that you would otherwise receive.
    • Stop smoking will be cheaper: Good news, if you want to quit smoking: As of 1 January 2020 you will no longer pay any excess for the support program. The costs were already reimbursed by the basic insurance, but were so far subject to excess.
    • Non Invasive Prenatal test (NIPT): The current coverage of the NIPT, which would expire in 2020, will continue. Next year, pregnant women can use the NIPT. There will be a personal contribution of €175.
    • Reimbursement of expensive medicines: If a medicinal product is not covered by basic health insurance due to excessive supplier costs, you may still get it reimbursed in some cases in 2020, if the medicine is prepared by the pharmacy.
    • Personal contributions: some personal contributions are likely to change, but have to date not been announced.

Read more about what is covered by basic health insurance, and what is not.

What supplementary insurance do you really need?

If you have supplementary insurance, you may ask yourself if you need to be covered for all situations included in the package. For instance, you may be interested in coverage for physiotherapy, but the package you have may also cover contraceptives, glasses and alternative treatment, in which you are not particularly interested. Check if your insurance provider has a package that just covers your needs.

You may also check if the premium you pay for the supplementary package is likely to save you costs. For instance a typical insurance for dental care will cost you 240 € per year and covers up to 500 € in cost. If you have strong teeth and just have 1 or 2 checks per year and maybe a simple filling, the charges you will incur are most likely less than your premium. At the same time, if you really face some serous dental work, 500 € won’t get you far.

So just check if in your case the potential benefits outweigh the premium. Of course, Dental insurance may very well be of value in your particular situation, for instance if you regularly have yearly dental costs that exceed the annual premium or if you have children that may need orthodontics as this often requires one of the parents to have a dental package.

Read more about options for supplementary insurance.

Other options to reduce your costs for healthcare

The cost you incur for healthcare is made up of different charges and contributions. Next to premiums, personal contributions and the deductibles (‘eigen risico’) there are the costs you incur for those health care services, medication or medical aids your insurance does not cover.

  • Check if your health insurance provider (or any other for that matter) offers a supplementary insurance that partly covers those costs. Be aware however that a provider has no obligation to accept you for a supplementary insurance. Read more about options for supplementary insurance.
  • If you have a low (family) income you may be eligible for a healthcare benefit (‘Zorgtoeslag’) that covers part of the premium of your health insurance. In 2020 this benefit is expected to increase with 5,50 € (individuals) to 8 € (families) per month. The government wants to improve the financial position of people with a lower income.
  • Some healthcare cost above an income dependent threshold are deductible from your income tax.

 

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