Dutch health insurers warn of major premium increase next year

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

Two of the four large health insurers warned that it is no longer possible for them to keep health care premiums equal, or increase them only slightly. Consumers may face a big premium increase next year, according to insurers CZ and Achmea, RTL Nieuws reports.

In its annual report published on Monday, CZ stated that it will have to increase premiums by twice as much as the 3 percent increase this year. That comes down to an increase of almost 84 euros per year. According to the insurer, health costs continue to rise and CZ increasingly has to dip into its buffers to supplement shortfalls. Last year CZ suffered a loss of 140 million euros - the third loss making year in a row for the insurer. 

CZ health insurance premiums for this year are already 6 euros below cost price, which means that the insurer has to take 259 million euros out of its buffers. 

All insurers in the Netherlands must maintain a so-called solvency ratio - enough money that it can pay out its future commitments, according to supervisor DNB. In order to maintain this solvency ratio, CZ will have to increase premiums, the insurer warned, according to the broadcaster. 

Achmea previously also hinted that it will not be able to keep premiums low for much longer. Director Willem van Duin told Financieele Dablad that the premium subsidy comes to an end next year. 

The other two large health insurers in the country - Menzis and VGZ - can't yet comment on what their premiums will look like next year, because their annual reports are not yet published. But they are not surprised by Achmea and CZ's warnings.

"This is not strange", a Menzis spokesperson said to RTL. "We've been shouting for years that we offer premiums below cost price. The bottom of our reserves are now coming." According to him, there are two reasons for this. "More and more care is needed due to the aging population and more and more is possible, but good care is costly. On average we spend 5,600 euros per person per year, you only get a small piece of that back."