For expats in the Netherlands, follow these steps to change your Dutch health insurance company. Note that you can only make the switch once per year.
In the Netherlands, there is six week window at the end of every calendar year during which time you are able to change health insurance companies. The period runs from mid-November to 1st January.
In the early Fall, the Dutch government announces what coverage will be included in the national basic health insurance policy (‘basisverzekering‘) in terms of medical treatments, prescription drugs, patient care, etc. The Cabinet makes its decision based on recommendations by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and its agencies, Zorginstituut Nederland and Nederlandse Zorgauthoriteit (Dutch Healthcare Authority).
Every resident in the Netherlands is legally required to have this basic health insurance and the policy must be from a Dutch insurance company. International health insurance policies do not satisfy the legal requirement. They may, however, be useful as a secondary insurance if it provides coverage for treatments not included in the basic Dutch policy. Having an extended health insurance policy is not mandatory under Dutch law.
After the government has made its announcement in early Fall on the content of the basic health insurance plan for the following year, Dutch insurance companies negotiate with health care providers to arrive at standardized costs for all common procedures. Each insurer then calculates the cost they will charge for their supplemental health insurance plans and announces these costs to the public. Most announce their costs between mid-October and beginning of November.
The public can compare costs to see if a different health insurer is offering a policy that fits their needs at a lower cost than their current carrier. If so, they can change insurance companies during the 6-week open window.
Because it is common for many Dutch consumers to switch carriers, the Dutch have worked it out in an efficient manner, whereby the new company you register with will handle the termination of the current policy to that company. The old policy ends on the 31st December and the new one begins at midnight on 1st January.
Another option for switching health insurance companies in the Netherlands is to inform your current insurer during the open window to end your current policy on the 31st December. If you haven’t chosen a new insurer by the 31st December, you have until 31st January to make the decision and register with that company. The new insurance policy will have a retroactive to 1st January and you will pay both the January and February premium at the same time, depending on how late in January it is when register with the new company.
The major drawbacks with handling the change in this manner is that if you do become ill or need treatment during that intermediary time frame, you will either need to register with a new insurer prior to seeking treatment (probably not something you want to spend time doing if you ill or injured) or you will need to pay for any treatment upfront and then make a claim once you have registered with a new health insurance company.
The following is a selection of Dutch health insurance companies based in and around South Holland Netherlands (i.e. The Hague, Rotterdam, Delft, Gouda) which offers health insurance cover to individuals. Those marked with an * offer information in English on their website…