The Dutch Dilemma: change or not change your health insurance plan in 2024?

The Netherlands has a world-renowned healthcare system, largely funded by paying monthly mandatory health insurance. If you’re an expat living in the Netherlands, you’re likely well known with the Dutch healthcare system and the annual ritual of choosing a health insurance plan. However, not everyone decides to switch their health insurance provider at the end of the year, and there are good reasons to consider if you’re one of those who opt to stay put.

The annual health insurance shuffle
Residents in the Netherlands have the option to change their health insurance plan once a year during the “switching season.” This period runs from mid-November to the end of December. During this time, insurance providers share their new policies and rates for the upcoming year, giving policyholders the chance to evaluate their options and make a switch if they find a more suitable coverage.

Implications of not changing
While you’re not obligated to change your health insurance plan every year, there are some important implications to consider if you decide to stay with your current provider:

  • Premium: the monthly premium for your insurance can increase annually and it is recently announced that this will be the case in 2024 too. Health insurance providers adjust their premiums based on factors such as inflation, rising healthcare costs, and the financial performance of the insurer.
  • Coverage: the coverage of your health insurance may change even if you do not switch. This may mean that certain medical treatments or medications that were previously covered may no longer be fully reimbursed.
  • Deductibles or what the Dutch call ‘eigen risico’: the amount of ‘eigen risico’ can normally change from year to year. However, during Prinsjesdag the Dutch government announced the deductibles will be the same in 2024: 385 euros.
  • Policy Terms: health insurance providers can adjust policy terms even if you opt to stay put, including how they process claims, the procedure for applying for reimbursements, and other administrative aspects.
  • Network of healthcare providers: the network of contracted healthcare providers can also change. This means that the insurer can establish new contracts with hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers. It’s important to check whether your preferred healthcare providers are still within your insurer’s network.
  • Additional insurance or what the Dutch call ‘aanvullend verzekerd’: the terms and premiums for these supplementary policies can change. This can affect coverage for services such as alternative medicine, physiotherapy, or dental care.

Assessing Your Current Policy
Before deciding to keep your existing health insurance plan, it’s essential to review your current policy. Here is what to take care off:

  • Coverage needs: assess your medical needs and make sure your current coverage meets your requirements. If your situation has changed, you might need a different level of coverage.
  • Premium costs: compare your current premium with the new rates offered by other insurance providers. Consider whether the potential savings are worth the switch.
  • Network accessibility: confirm that your preferred healthcare providers and facilities are within your insurance network. If not, you might want to explore other options.

In conclusion, choosing not to change your health insurance plan for 2024 (in dutch: zorgverzekering vergelijken 2024) is a personal decision that depends on your individual circumstances. If you’re satisfied with your current coverage and the costs are reasonable, it may make sense to stick with it. However, staying informed and periodically reviewing your options is essential to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.