The Dutch health care market is well-known all around the world. Often seen as a role model for how people can get a good and affordable health plan. Within the Netherlands there are a large number of health insurance organizations which results in a high competitive market.
The health plans in the Netherlands are a combination of a basic health plan with some additional modules that are free of choice. Every person in Netherlands is obliged to have at least the basic health plan. The coverage within this basis plan is defined by the Dutch government. Each year this basis plan is evaluated and modified by the government. They even provide a suggestion for the premium to be charged by the insurance company.
The health insurance netherlands organizations can not differ in the coverage for the basic health plan. For this plan they can only differentiate with the premium. The story for the additional health insurance modules is totally different. For these plans the organizations are allowed to differentiate a lot. They can define their own additional modules and they can attach their own defined price levels to these modules.
As a result the Dutch health care market is a real competitive market that offers consumers freedom of choice. But the consumers are only allowed to switch between health insurance provider once a year. At the end of the each year, a health care provider is obliged to give details on their new health packages for the upcoming year. Including the new price levels.
All prices and health plans must be public at 15th of November. From this moment on the insurance organizations will start their end of the year promotion. In this “shopping season” they have the opportunity to persuade consumers to switch health plan and sign up with them. There are some price differences but most of the organizations try to compete on different topics like coverage and service levels. Other important differentiators are the online self-servicing concepts offered.
Some of the providers use incentives during shopping season to persuade the consumers. Incentives like price reductions or even free gifts. Although it is strange to see that most of the marketing campaigns are focused on attracting new insurances instead of retention.