The health insurance premium is set based on the projected healthcare expenditure of the next year. As expenditure is going up, the premium also goes up due to rising wages and other costs in healthcare, but also due to ageing population. Anyone insured under a group health insurance scheme will be confronted with a sharper rise in their premium for the coming year, because the group discount no longer applies. By drawing on our financial reserves, we manage to limit the premium increase for all our insures. CZ has earmarked an amount of €110 million to ease the premium increase.
The premium is lower than the government expected in its budget for 2023. Even so, CZ’s chair of the board Joep de Groot does not consider this a windfall. ‘Today’s expensive times are affecting practically everyone. So a premium increase can really hit hard, especially for those of our customers who are in a vulnerable position. We know that financial problems have a huge impact on people’s health and well-being. Combined with the fact that healthcare costs continue to rise, we see a real squeeze.’ Hence CZ will use 3 euros from its reserves per month per insured person to soften the premium increase.
Not only are the limits of affordability in sight, staff shortages are also expected to continue to grow over the coming period. ‘The bottom line is that we are going to have to provide more healthcare with the same number of people. Meaning that healthcare will have to change, which is not easy, although we have seen in various areas that it is possible. We continue to work on this, because we have to act and make choices now. Access to good healthcare is not a given.’
In order to make the necessary changes to healthcare, CZ is teaming up with various healthcare providers and other organisations. ‘Continuously increasing the spending is not a sustainable solution,’ says De Groot. ‘We have to invest sensibly, such as in the use of innovative resources that can support the available healthcare staff or free up more time to spend on patients. There are many innovations available, and we can no longer afford the luxury of just leaving them on the shelf.’ An example is CZ’s collaboration with a mental health facility in the province of Brabant to enable mental health centres to take a district-oriented and demand-driven approach. This new approach comes in response to growing waiting lists and changing healthcare needs. An initial consultation with a mental health professional prior to a possible referral by the GP makes it possible to assess from a broader perspective and at an earlier stage what help would best match a person’s care need. This ensures that people get the right healthcare and prevents them from unnecessarily being put on a waiting list.
‘We must never lose sight of what’s important for patients, and that goes beyond merely looking at medical care,’ De Groot emphasises. ‘The healthcare sector offers good medical solutions, but the underlying need is sometimes not necessarily of a medical nature. For example, people can literally get sick because of money worries. In fact, the group of people for whom this is the case is growing in this day and age. Social issues have a major impact on people’s health, but this is not something we can deal with through healthcare. Tackling the cause is the best way to prevent problems.’ With this in mind, CZ has, among other things, struck up partnerships with 53 local authorities to work on a more broadly scoped approach for people with multiple problems.
CZ is a not-for-profit mutual insurance association. With over 3.7 million insured parties, CZ groep is the third largest Dutch health insurer. CZ groep works hard every day to improve healthcare in the Netherlands, and to keep it affordable and accessible to everyone who needs it. As of 1 January 2009, CZ groep also administers health insurance activities for Nationale-Nederlanden and OHRA labels.
We will announce the premiums for our other basic insurance policies in 2023 by 12 November at the latest.