10 Nov 2023 at 05:03
The most popular health insurance from VGZ will cost 146.95 euros per month in 2024. That is 5 euros more than this year. Menzis also came up with a higher premium last night (5.50 euros more). In addition to wage increases and inflation, according to VGZ, this is because we are living longer and requiring more and more care.
Last year VGZ also added more than 9 euros per month and the year before 8 euros. This premium increase is also inevitable. “There were significant wage increases for healthcare workers and inflation among healthcare providers. We are also living longer and more and more is possible with new technologies. It all causes healthcare costs to rise,” explains CEO Marjo Vissers.
The premium increase is affected by the fact that, unlike in previous years, VGZ cannot use reserves to limit the premium increase. VGZ is somewhat pleased that the premium increase is much lower than predicted on Budget Day (an additional 12 euros). According to Vissers, this is due to smart purchasing of care and by working with healthcare providers to achieve more efficient care.
New health insurance premiums
Health insurers will present their new premium for 2024 no later than November 12. Here are the new health premiums from Menzis, DSW and Zorg en Zekerheid. You have until the New Year to cancel your health insurance and you can take out a new one until January 31.
The VGZ CEO certainly sees it positively. While DSW CEO Aad de Groot said in September in his premium announcement (11.50 euros added) that we are heading for a cliff due to premium and cost increases, Vissers hopes that through joint efforts, health care cost growth can be curbed in the coming years.
‘People in healthcare run out of money before they run out’
“We are changing healthcare,” says Vissers. “And we have to, because if we do what we did, healthcare costs will continue to rise rapidly. More money, as promised in some election manifestos, is not the solution.”
“In terms of deploying healthcare staff, it will soon no longer be feasible. We will run out of people before the money we can spend on healthcare. That is why we must listen to healthcare staff about how things can be done smarter and more efficiently.”
Vissers says that the healthcare sector has been busy changing for over a year. Last year, agreements were made about this between healthcare providers, professional organizations, health insurers and the government.
In this Integrated Care Agreement, all parties undertake to carefully examine whether all care needs are necessary. Can it be done smarter or more efficiently? So that it is easier for patients and also involves less work and money? “There is a world to be won and we will see that in the coming years,” says Vissers.
‘Is coming over always necessary?’
The VGZ CEO sees good examples that can be applied in more regions. “Such as eye drop glasses for single elderly people, so that home care workers do not always have to come by. They can go to people who can no longer do it themselves.”
She also mentions a hospital that teaches people to replace their own stoma before they have one. And the proposal to no longer have to come to the hospital for check-ups four times a year as standard after certain operations. “Is that necessary on location? We ask healthcare providers what they do smarter than their neighbors and pass this on.”
The health insurer also has dozens of its own consultants who work at hospitals or other healthcare providers to help them achieve changes in healthcare.
‘You can also ask yourself whether your visit is necessary’
Something is also expected of the patient, says Vissers. “Ask yourself what you can do instead of what you are entitled to. Can you monitor your own recovery with digital applications or make an appointment remotely?”
Vissers emphasizes that she is not calling for care to be avoided. At a time when some Dutch people are struggling to save their money, studies show that people with financial concerns are considering foregoing medication or doctor’s appointments. “We all have to be alert to that. You do not have to pay for a doctor’s visit and it is not covered by your deductible. So you can just go there if necessary.”
‘Healthcare premium will not be lower in the coming years’
It sounds almost utopian that smart initiatives will slow down healthcare cost growth. Since the year 2000, healthcare costs have tripled. And the aging population will continue to drive healthcare use and the costs of healthcare personnel will not decrease anytime soon.
Vissers sees that too. “Despite all efforts, health care costs and health insurance premiums will not easily become lower in the coming years than they are now. I think we can be happy if healthcare costs do not grow faster than our economy.”
This has been successful over the past ten years. In 2022, we will spend 13.2 percent of everything that citizens and companies earn on healthcare. We have been at percentages between 12 and 14 percent since 2019, with the exception of the corona years 2020 and 2021.