Insurers expecting sharp increase in healthcare premiums next year

Health insurance premiums will increase significantly next year, De Telegraaf reports based on comments made by insurers’ directors. The rising healthcare costs make higher premiums inevitable, healthcare economist Wim Groot told the newspaper.

ASR director Jos Baeten expects “quite a significant increase” in health insurance premiums. “Healthcare costs are currently rising exceptionally towards 100 billion euros per year. And if nothing changes, those costs will double to possibly 200 billion euros within ten years. At the same time, there is a need to keep health insurance premiums low. But those two things don’t go together,” he said.

Achmea CEO Bianca Tetteroo added that insurers also spend more on staff and IT on top of the rising healthcare costs. “We try to keep health insurance premiums as stable as possible, without significant increase one year and a significant decrease the next. But premiums will gradually continue to rise,” she said.

DSW director Jako Papac expects that “the health insurance premium will exceed the growth of the economy. And that implies that the premium will take up a larger part of our disposable income.”

According to health economist Wim Groot of Maastricht University, higher insurance premiums are inevitable. “We have seen the premium increasing in recent years, and the increase is greater every year. Next year will be no different. Due to the aging population, there is an increasing demand for care, causing costs to rise. In addition, several collective labor agreements were concluded last year with significant salary increases for healthcare staff. We will all have to pay for that next year,” he told the Telegraaf.

Many businesses in the healthcare sector are also facing financial difficulties. “Many hospitals have already indicated that they are in the red. This affects negotiations with health insurers. They will think: we cannot ask for the very best we can. We will then see the higher costs reflected in the health insurance premium,” Groot said.

Last year, health insurance premiums increased by an average of 127 euros per year. “We expect at least the same increase for next year, but perhaps more,” Jorn Alders of comparison site told the newspaper. The premium increase last year prompted 8.5 percent of Netherlands residents to switch health insurers – the largest number since the introduction of the Health Insurance Act in 2006. Around 40 percent of the switchers opted for a maximum healthcare deductible of 885 euros instead of the mandatory deductible of 385 euros. That gave them an average discount of 216 euros on their premium amount.

The Cabinet will present an initial forecast on how much more expensive health insurance will be next year on Budget Day. Insurers can decide for themselves whether they follow the forecast. Some may choose to dip into their own pockets to lower the premiums. Health insurers have until November 12 to announce their premiums for next year. DSW traditionally does so first in the week after Budget Day.

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