Health insurance premiums will see an increase in 2021
By Adriana Dancu
The healthcare system in the Netherlands is ranked amongst the best in the world, and often has access to the most advanced treatments and preventative care available. If you work in the Netherlands, it is mandatory to have a Dutch basic health insurance, called ‘Basisverzekering,’ however, there are some exceptions. For internationals, the Dutch healthcare system can be structured differently from their home country system.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory
The basic Dutch health insurance is a universal package for everyone under the age of eighteen years old, while children under the age of eighteen are insured by their parents’ policy.
Visitors from the European Union, and students are not required to get Dutch insurance, however, they must have a European Health Insurance Card. Non-EU students must have a special type of international student insurance, of which the most popular is AON. Moreover, everybody must purchase a Dutch health insurance, within four months of living in the Netherlands, in case they earn the same amount, or more than the Dutch minimum wage. In this case, your employer would usually contribute a percentage of the income to the cost of the healthcare, and the Human Resources at the company will discuss the healthcare insurance issue with the employee. Not taking a health insurance if you are required to do so means getting a fine.
Any healthcare insurer is obliged to accept everyone who applies for the Basisverzekering, and are not allowed to charge policyholders differently. You cannot be denied healthcare insurance for pre-existing conditions. Dutch law prevents companies from discriminating against clients when giving them coverage.
In some cases, companies themselves will offer corporate healthcare insurance, or will have a close relationship with an insurer so that their employees get cheaper monthly premiums.
It is possible to cancel your health insurance every year (on December 31 at the latest) and to get a new one (on January 31 the latest). Your health insurance starts retroactively on 1 January. Do not forget to cancel your previous health insurance, however, because the fine for having more than one insurance is high.
The General Practitioner (GP)
The role of the GP (‘huisarts’), or family doctor is central in the Dutch healthcare system. For many internationals, this is the most important difference between the Dutch healthcare system, and the healthcare system in their home country.
The GP is the first contact for all medical issues, or complaints. GPs are trained specialists who treat the most common health issues, such as paediatric diseases, and gynaecological complaints.
When needed, the GP will prescribe medication, or refer you to a hospital, or medical specialist. Prescriptions are filled at a pharmacy (‘apotheek’), and it is not possible to see a medical specialist without a referral.
Extra services, such as annual check-ups, are not part of the basic Dutch health insurance, and tests are not done automatically. These extra services are provided only if it is necessary, and at private clinics. However, you should note that Dutch insurers do not normally cover private clinics fees.
Because the Dutch healthcare system is generally non-interventionist, antibiotics, or anti-depressants are less likely to be prescribed, and a consultation does not necessarily mean getting a prescription.
Premiums change in 2021
In 2021, premiums will see a 4% increase. All insurance providers have announced their new premiums for 2021. They will increase in average by 5 euros per month, with a few policies showing an increase of 10 euros or more.
If you are entitled to receive a healthcare benefit, the increase will consist of a maximum 4 euros per individual, and 9 euros per family every month.
The mandatory deductible (excess or ‘eigen risico’), however, will not change in 2021, and remains at 385 euros.
Image via the UMCG