13 Nov 2023 at 05:09
Basic insurance for all health insurers will become 5 to 10 euros per month more expensive in 2024. But prices and conditions differ, so there is plenty to choose from. What can you do now to arrange good and affordable health insurance?
On Friday, the four largest health insurers announced their new health premiums and a group of discounters followed this weekend. All premiums are now known and the annual switching season can begin.
The great thing is that every basic insurance covers the same care. The coverage is laid down by law. So you will get medicines and operations anyway. But there are differences in service and conditions for free choice of care. Here is a step-by-step plan to make a good choice for health insurance.
Step 1: Consider how much care you think you will need next year.
Do you often use medication or do you expect some hospital visits? That matters for what choices you make later.
Step 2: Check whether it is important to you which hospital you can go to.
Check the websites of health insurers to see whether you can go to your preferred healthcare providers for treatments you may need. With cheaper health insurance you usually have less choice and you sometimes have to travel a little further for treatment. If you don’t mind, you can opt for that too. With a policy with less free choice, you pay part of the costs yourself with some healthcare providers.
Step 3: Ask yourself what kind of service you like.
Would you like to arrange your healthcare matters by post, and do you prefer a telephone conversation if you want to inquire about something? Or can you get by with email or a chatbot for communication with your health insurer? The less service you require, the cheaper your policy can be. Many major health insurers have a cheaper option with less free choice of care and slightly less service.
Step 4: Make the calculation for the supplementary insurance
Estimate how much costs you incur for dentist, optician, physiotherapist and homeopathic care. And how much it would cost if you take out additional insurance for this. Usually, additional insurance does not save you much money. Not even if there is a lot of healthcare use, because health insurers have set maximum amounts or numbers of treatments. So you cannot claim unlimited costs for a physiotherapist or dentist with a supplementary policy.
It can often be cheaper to pay for care from the supplementary package yourself. So if instead of paying the additional premium of 20 euros per month, you put that money aside. Then you also have the money ready if you need new glasses or physiotherapy. If you like the feeling of having additional insurance, then that may also be a reason to take out that additional package.
Step 5: Don’t be too quick to cheer about discounts
Through your employer or association you often have the opportunity to take out collective health insurance with a specific insurer at a discount. That does not always mean that it will be cheaper. Certainly since 2023, a group discount on basic insurance is no longer allowed. Health insurers do still offer discounts on additional health insurance. That can be interesting, but the question is whether you really need that additional insurance.
Discounts are also sometimes promised on comparison sites. This also applies to: check multiple websites and also the pages of health insurers themselves to see where you get the best deal.
Step 6: Don’t increase your deductible too eagerly
Most health insurers allow you to increase the mandatory deductible (you pay this first part of your annual healthcare costs yourself) of 385 euros by, for example, 100 or 500 euros. Usually, with an additional deductible of 500 euros, you will receive a premium discount of more than 20 euros per month. That could be interesting, but make sure you have 885 euros ready just in case.
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Step 7: Also choose based on good experiences
By switching to another health insurance policy, you can sometimes save tens of euros per month. But your feelings are also worth something. Do you have good experiences with your own insurer and do you always receive good help? Or do you hear from family or friends that their insurer is happy when they have had operations and check-ups? That is also worth a lot.