At Nunet we are busy with fun things all day long. Well, sorting out your health insurance is not the best activity ever, but researching our health care system has turned out to be a lot of fun and very educational. Of course, you can save a lot of money if you inform yourself and switch. But we can also think carefully about better care for all of us. After our research, we have come to surprising discoveries and tips that we would like to share with you.
Let’s start by acknowledging that we are incredibly lucky to have good healthcare in the Netherlands. But at the same time we can also improve a lot. We can handle our money much smarter with our money, which we now give to a disrupted semi-private healthcare sector.
The current Health Insurance Act in the Netherlands has been in existence since 2006 and has since led to ever higher premiums, higher deductibles and a smaller basic package. The premium has risen enormously from an average of 1,027 euros in 2006 to 1,236 euros in 2016. Next year in 2017, the premiums will also rise sharply again, you pay an average of € 103 per month. The insurers are increasing the monthly premium from €6 to €10 per month compared to 2016.
All the money from the advertisements to convince us to switch can be better spent on better care in the Netherlands. Every health insurer does advertising or PR, a striking example: Achmea paid former US president Bill Clinton €440,000 in 2011 for a speech at the insurer’s congress in Achlum.
Our health insurance is becoming more and more expensive and you get less for your money every year. It will be priceless if we don’t change something. So here’s our question: why is our healthcare system not working properly and why should we do things differently?
Saving on health insurance, savings argument, this money does not go to healthcare:
1. Health insurers spend half a billion euros in premiums annually on advertising and PR to get us to switch.
2. In 2012, for example, the costs for acquisition alone amounted to 541 million euros, which amounted to 571 euros per transferred insured. The total savings of abolishing competition between health insurers is estimated at 1 billion euros per year.
3. In recent years, health insurers have been able to build up substantial equity capital from our premium funds. In total, they currently have 10 billion euros in reserves. This money should be spent on better care.
4. Our care is now arranged by companies with care contracts, intermediaries, comparison websites, etc., all of which also have to make a profit / earn money.
5. If you switch via a comparison site, you can be sure that 2 to 10 percent of your premium will flow directly into the coffers of an intermediary.
Care belongs to all of us, moral argument, everyone is entitled to good care:
1. The insurer decides whether and where you receive care. In the consulting room, not the insurer, but you and the doctor should be in charge. This stands in the way of better care.
2. People with less money no longer go to the dentist, psychologist, physiotherapist and so on, with all the subsequent medical and financial consequences.
3. Patients with budget policies are regularly confronted with unexpected costs if, for example, they are in a non-contracted hospital or if the treatment is not insured.
4. Both the Dutch Healthcare Authority and the top lobbyist on behalf of the health insurers even report that insurers are actively undermining solidarity in healthcare.
5. Care providers say they are forced to sign strangling contracts of the health insurers and thereby deviate from their (medical) professional honour.
6. Care is not a matter for a few private companies, care is a matter for all of us. Or so it should be.
And as an additional argument / advantage, no more annoying commercials all day long.
Well, we at Nunet are not politically active or for a specific party, but we can move to a better healthcare system than we have now. An alternative as an example for better care: De Landelijke
Healthcare facility .
If you make the health insurance (partly) public again, this has many advantages. They do this in other countries around us as well. There, leaders are making bold decisions based on bold visions with spectacular results: In Norway, they are giving their frail elderly the opportunity to enjoy their care in Spain, saving a surprising amount of money. In New Zealand, the government has taken over the medicine market, which also yields major savings. This and more examples are nicely presented in this Backlight episode.
Change starts with informing yourself and together we can choose a better alternative. It is time for better care in the Netherlands for all of us. But for now, if you want to switch health insurance, a few tips:
1. Compare via a comparison website, conclude with the insurer itself.
2. Check whether the insurer has a cheaper internet policy. Menzis, for example, has Anderzorg.
3. Compare properly. Don’t just look for the cheapest. Budget policies have a much more limited freedom of choice. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. If your regional hospital or the academic center around the corner is covered, you can easily take out the policy. If this is not the case, it is advisable to look a little further. You can always find the contracted care providers on the health insurer’s website.
4. In addition, pay attention to waiting times: sometimes it is only possible to declare certain treatments two years after taking out the policy.
5. Do you go on vacation or do you like to travel? Then take out additional worldwide cover with your health insurance or a travel insurance with health care coverage. This only costs a few euros extra and prevents unpleasant surprises when traveling. The basic insurance only covers what the treatment costs here in the Netherlands. For example, if you have to undergo surgery in the US, you will have to pay a lot more. Healthcare costs are much higher there than here.
6. If you can afford it, pay annually. You will quickly save 2-3%.
7. Switching is not possible if there is a payment arrears with the current basic insurance.
Our tip is to compare via De Consumentenbond. The Consumers’ Association is the most independent and in our opinion gives the most fair and complete comparison. As mentioned earlier, the insurance does take out with the insurer itself.
Sources: The Correspondent, The National Care Facility, Independer, Consumers Association and Backlight.