Health insurer DSW lowers premiums, deductibles in surprise move

Health insurance
The rising cost of health care and insurance, as described by the image's creator.. (photo: 401(K) 2012 / Flickr)

Health insurer DSW is lowering its premiums and mandatory own-risk deductibles for next year, in a move that went against the expectation of politicians and the insurer itself.

In 2018 the DSW premium for a basic health insurance package will be 1,290 euros per year, or 107,50 euros per month, reports. That is six euros less annually. Mandatory own-risk deductibles will decrease from 385 euros to 375 euros. 

On Budget Day the government expected that health insurance will increase by an average of around 6 euros per month and own-risk deductibles will increase to 400 euros. Last week the cabinet announced that they will freeze own risk deductibles at 385 euros, but that would result in an even higher premium increase. DSW itself previously said it expected higher premiums next year due to an unexpected setback of 400 million euros.

The healthcare costs in the national budget are too high, DSW director Chris Oomen said to NOS. "We now have a nice picture of this year, and that image is very clear: cost reduction." This can be attributed to a number of factors, including that wages in healthcare increased less than expected. 

Reducing the own-risk deductibles is a matter of principle, Oomen said to the broadcaster. "It's a symbolic amount to show we think that the level of the deductible is overshooting its goal." According to the insurer, there is no justification for the current high level of own-risk deductible, and costs should be more fairly distributed between chronically ill people and healthy people. The level of the own-risk deductible is determined by law. "But in some cases an insurer can deviate from that", Oomen said.

As usual, DSW is the first insurer to announce its premiums for the next year. The other health insurers will follow in the coming weeks. Their premiums are usually similar to what DSW announced. 

On Tuesday afternoon the Eerste Kamer and Tweede Kamer, the Dutch Senate and lower house of parliament, will debate the government's intention to freeze the own-risk deductible at 385 euros.