The further you travel and the longer your trip, the earlier you usually plan that trip in advance. Perhaps you are already making your travel plans for 2024. In that case, now is the ideal time to think about your health insurance. Does it fit well with your travel plans or would you be better off switching to another health insurance before the turn of the year? This blog will tell you what things to consider.
When are you allowed to change your health insurance?
Switching your health insurance policy or to another health insurance company cannot be done at any moment. Every year, there is a period of about 10 weeks in which this is allowed, beyond that it is not possible, with a few specific exceptions.
This year, health insurance companies are obliged to announce by 12 November 2023 how high their healthcare premiums will be in the coming year. From then on, you have six weeks to decide whether you want to stay with your current health insurer. If you choose to switch, you must cancel your current insurance by 31 December at the latest. You then have until 31 January 2024 to take out a new health insurance policy, which will then apply retroactively from 1 January.
When is it a good idea to switch health insurance?
There are several reasons why you might want to switch health insurance. Maybe you have had bad experiences with your current insurance company, maybe another insurance company now offers a more favourable premium or maybe you expect to need more healthcare that is better covered by another insurance company. Therefore, during the period when you may switch, take a moment to think about the year to come.
Does your current insurance cover the healthcare costs and risks that may arise from your (travel) plans for the coming year?
During the switching period, not only can you choose to switch to another health insurer, you can also choose to take out or discontinue supplementary insurances. In the Netherlands basic health insurance is compulsory for everyone, but things like physiotherapy, new glasses or lenses, contraception and travel vaccines are often not covered. Therefore, also go over your plans for the coming year. Are you going to take up a new sport or train more intensively for a sport you already play? In doing so, you run an increased risk of injury, for which you may need physiotherapy. It may be wise to include this preventively in your supplementary insurance. The opposite also applies: have you had supplementary insurance for some time but never had to use the extra care covered by it? Then you may want to consider going back to just the basic insurance.
Your travel plans can also be decisive in choosing supplementary insurance. Are you planning a long trip, or will you be going to a country where you face health risks? If so, travel vaccines are often recommended, for example against hepatitis B, dengue fever or tick-borne encephalitis. There are also diseases against which there are no vaccines, but for which medication is sometimes recommended, such as malaria pills when travelling to areas where malaria is prevalent. In principle, travel vaccines and travel medication are not covered by basic health insurance. To avoid having to pay for these costs yourself, you can get supplementary insurance that does cover them.
Check which healthcare providers you can visit with your health insurance policy
Some basic health insurance policies require that for non-emergency care, you only go to hospitals and other healthcare providers they have a contract with. Check every year whether your insurer has a contract with healthcare providers in your area. If it turns out that there are no contracts with the hospital in your area and you have to travel more than an hour to the nearest hospital that your health insurer does have a contract with, you might want to look for another health insurance. Sometimes, you can also opt for a higher premium with your current insurer in exchange for free choice of care. But it can also be a reason to switch to another health insurance company altogether.
Even if you have supplementary health insurance that covers travel vaccines and/or travel medication, you cannot always get them at every travel vaccination agency. Therefore, check whether your current insurance or the new insurance you are considering has a contract with your preferred travel vaccination agency. Vaccinatiecentrum.nl has a contract with Interpolis and Zilveren Kruis. These also include ZieZo, Gemeenten Optimaal, Gemeente Amsterdam and AON Vitaal. If you are insured with one of these parties, the costs of a consultation, vaccinations and preventive medicines will be reimbursed 100%. We also send the bill directly to your health insurer, so you do not have to pay and submit the bill yourself.
Are you going to study abroad? If so, AON Vitaal is the recommended health insurance.
Do you want to switch? Then make sure to do so on time!
Make sure you think about whether your current health insurance still suits you well before 31 December. After that, you will not be allowed to cancel your insurance until the end of 2024. You must have taken out your new health insurance no later than 31 January. Do you want your consultation at vaccinatiecentrum.nl and your travel vaccines and/or travel medication to be reimbursed? If so, check carefully whether your current or new insurance company has a contract with us.
Dit blog is gepubliceerd op 6 november 2023.