Option to change your policy before January 1
If you have a mandatory Dutch health insurance (‘Basisverzekering’) then you have the option to change your health insurance policy and/or provider once every year. This newsletter will help you in deciding whether to make a change or not. It covers the following subjects:
- What will change in 2021?
- To change or not to change your provider or policy?
- Changing your current health insurance policy
- Switching to another health insurance provider
- Is it wise to increase your level of excess (deductible or ‘eigen risico’)?
- What supplementary insurance do you really need?
- Ways to reduce your healthcare costs
How to get the best deal?
As the information will show, this depends on your personal situation and that of your family members. From now on (Nov 13th) 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. In any event, do so no later than December 31st!
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2021: What will change
Premiums show 4% increase
All insurance providers have announced their new premiums for 2021. Premiums increase in average by 5 € per month, with a few policies showing an increase of 10 € or more.
If you are entitled to receive a healthcare benefit, you may expect a maximum increase of 4 € (individuals) to 9 € (families) per month to offset this premium increase.
Check all 2021 premiums here.
Mandatory excess unchanged
The mandatory deductable (excess or ‘eigen risico’) for 2021 will not change and remains at € 385.
Changes to coverage of the Basic Health insurance
Changes known at this moment are (check with your insurance provider for details):
- Coverage of the basic health insurance is temporarily (until at least July 18th 2021) extended with recovery care after corona, in case of severe complaints. Coverage includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and support by a dietician,
- Reimbursement of medication for ovarian and lymph node cancer,
- Compensation for day treatment of non-congenital brain injury.
To change or not to change?
This depends very much on what you would like to achieve: lower cost, better service, better coverage.
If you are not satisfied about the level of service you get, such as ease of getting in contact, handling of claims, you may consider Changing your health insurance provider.
If however, you are satisfied about the level of service of your current insurance provider, you may want to first look at making Changes to your current basic health insurance policy.
Coverage: All basic health insurance policies by law cover the same medical services, treatments, diagnostics and medication. Changing this package is not an option.
However, depending on your provider and policy type there are differences in your possibilites of choice: what healthcare providers are contracted for treatment, the range of providers for medical aids and consumables and the freedom to select a specific brand of medication. Read more about coverage of the basic health insurance.
If you decide to make changes do so at December 31st at the very latest. If you cancel your insurance by this date, you have until February 1st to sign up with another health insurance provider. If you sign up with a new provider no later than December 31st, this provider will in many cases take care of the cancellation of your current policy.
Changing your current basic health insurance policy
Changes you may consider to reduce cost or have more possibilities of choice:
- Cost & Choice: 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 an 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.
Read more about how freedom of choice may differ between policy types and providers.
- Cost: 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.
- Cost: 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 require a mandatory health insurance). Check with your insurance provider. Generally they will be helpful to find the discount-package (‘collectiviteit’) that applies to you. The maximum discount that may be offered is only 5%, however.
- Cost: Opt for a yearly instead of monthly payment: if you have the about € 1.500 it will cost available, you’ll save about 2% in premium. This is a return you likely won’t have at your savings account.
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 for 2021 it may well be attractive to switch provider to reduce your cost, to get better service or better coverage
What should you take into consideration when looking for a health insurance provider:
- Coverage: All basic health insurance policies by law cover the same medical services, treatments, diagnostics and medication. There are differences in the freedom to select specific healthcare providers, medication and aids. Read more.
- Cost: 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 2021, a corporate package may offer other benefits.
- Cost and Coverage: 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. Providers differ for instance in how easy it is to contact them. Some only allow contact via mail, chat or app.
- Cost and Coverage: 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 Policy‘.
Beware before you change: by law 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 increase 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 were subject to excess. These were costs 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 2021 will not be (much) higher than the level of your current excess, it may be attractive to opt for a higher level of excess.
- if your current level of excess is 385 € and
- the total claims subject to excess in 2020 were 450 €
- you’ll save € 175 (= 240 € – € 65) in 2021 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 costs 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.
What supplementary insurance do you really need?
Do you need the cover? 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.
Will it save cost? 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 serious dental work, 500 € won’t get you far.
Beware if you have children under 18 that may need orthodontics. To have this covered often requires one of the parents to have a supplementary dental package.
As supplementary insurance is voluntary, only those persons that expect to have larger claims take out these packages. This forces insurance providers to increase premiums or reduce coverage of these packages.
Read more about options for supplementary insurance.
Other options to reduce your costs
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 2021 this benefit is expected to increase with 4 € (individuals) to 9 € (families) per month.
- Some healthcare costs above an income dependent threshold are deductible from your income tax.
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