Here are steps expats in Holland should follow to change your health insurance policy, make a switch between Dutch health insurers in the Netherlands…
In the Netherlands, there is an open window at the end of each calendar year during which you can switch health care insurance providers. The period runs for 6 weeks from mid-November through 1st January.
Earlier in the Fall, the Dutch government announces what the basic health insurance policy (‘basisverzekering‘) will cover, in terms of medical treatments, prescription drugs, patient care, etc. Every resident in the Netherlands is required by law to have this basic health insurance policy provided by a Dutch insurer (international health insurance policies do not satisfy the legal requirement, but may be used as secondary or extended insurance, which is elective and not required by Dutch law). 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).
Following the government announcement in early Fall of what is to be included in the basic health insurance policy for the following year, Dutch insurers take the information and determine how much their companies will charge for that policy. The insurers then announce their costs to the public along with the costs for their supplemental health insurance policies (which cover additional treatments and care not included in the basic policy, such as dental and vision care). These costs are usually announced between mid-October and beginning of November.
The public can then compare costs offered by their current health insurer to those offered by other Dutch health insurers. If they determine a different insurer is offering a better cost (usually as a combination between the basic policy and supplemental policy, since there is usually very little difference in cost of just the basic health insurance itself), they are allowed to switch health insurance companies during a 6-week window at the end of the year. For 2017, the time frame for switching healthcare insurers in the Netherlands is 12th November-31st December.
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Changing health insurers in Holland is a common practice, so many Dutch health insurance companies have as far as handling the termination of the new subscriber’s current health insurance policy. This basically reduces any hassle involved, making it even easier for the potential new client to switch over to their company. The new insurer informs the old insurer to end the subscriber’s current policy as of 31st December. The new policy with the new insurer then starts 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 made a decision about which insurer to go with at that time, you have until 31st January to register with a new company. That new insurance policy will have a retroactive effective date of 1st January and you will usually need to 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…