More than four million Belgians benefit from hospitalization insurance through their employer. It covers hospitalization costs that are not reimbursed by health insurance.
In most cases, the employer pays the premium. However, a study by the human resources services company Mercer shows that a change is looming and that more and more companies are asking for a contribution from their workers. In 2015, 7% of companies requested a contribution and, five years later, this figure has already reached 14%. Note that about 45% of companies offering hospitalization insurance allow free affiliation of the partner and children.
Depending on the policy and the premium you pay, you may or may not face a deductible. This is the amount that you have to bear yourself and for which the insurance does not intervene. According to Mercer, more and more of what is called the “differentiated franchise“. With more and more insurers, the deductible for a single room is much higher than when you opt for a double or shared room.
“In this way, insurers avoid the well-known problem of fees – which weigh heavily on the final bill in the case of single rooms – and they manage to control their claims statistics and the resulting premiums”, explains Benjamin Rutten, expert Employee Benefits at Mercer. “According to our research, a little more than three-quarters of the police practice the uniform deductible and, therefore, the same deductible for a single room as for a shared room.”
Higher premium on hospitalization insurance
Normally, affiliation to a group hospitalization insurance plan is done without the need to complete a medical questionnaire. In other words, no distinction is made on the basis of age or state of health. People who subscribe to hospital insurance must, however, complete a quiz.
When you retire, you can continue the collective hospitalization of your employer on an individual basis. To do this, you will not have to undergo a medical examination and there is no waiting period (this is the waiting period before the coverage takes effect). One condition, however: you must be insured for at least two years without interruptions, and you must request it within 30 days of loss of coverage.
But you will now have to pay a significantly higher premium. For individual hospitalization insurance, the age of the insured plays a role. The older you are, the higher the premium will be. “The premium for collective hospitalization insurance varies approximately between 10 and 25 euros depending on the guarantees chosen, the size and composition of the group, and the claims statistics”, explains Marc Van Werkhoven, Director of Employee Benefits at Vanbreda Risk & Benefits.
The premium for individual hospitalization insurance for a 30-year-old quickly reaches more than double the collective premium. A person who joins at age 55 pays on average twice as much as a person who joins at age 30. “And someone who joins at 65 already pays on average 3 times more than someone who does so at 30”, adds Marc Van Werkhoven. Depending on the product and insurer chosen, the premium for individual hospitalization insurance will be either “fixed” on the entry age in hospitalization insurance (+ indexation), or it will evolve depending on the age reached.
Font on hold for hospitalization insurance
To avoid higher premiums, you can take out a waiting policy. This is a supplementary contract with which you “pre-finance” your subsequent individual hospitalization insurance. When you leave your group hospitalization insurance, you pay a premium based on your age when you took out your waiting policy.
“It is better to start pre-financing as soon as possible“, underlines Karolien Goethals, advisor Employee Benefits at Vanbreda Risk & Benefits. “Indeed, the premium for the pre-financing and for the future individual hospitalization plan is determined according to the age at the start of the pre-financing.
Of course, it is always possible to start pre-financing at a later age, but then the advantage will be less. The size of the advantage depends of course not only on the age you start to be prefinanced but also on your life and therefore the age up to which the individual hospitalization insurance will cover you.
In a number of cases, it is the employer who prefinances the individual hospitalization insurance. However, a study by the human resources services company Mercer showed that only 15% of policies offer such pre-financing. As with individual pre-financing, it will be possible to take out the insurance at a lower premium later, when the worker leaves the company or retires.
THESE EXTRAS OFFERED BY EMPLOYERS
Hospital insurance and group insurance are fairly common fringe benefits. However, employers sometimes take out additional insurance for their workers.
Complementary insurance against accidents at work
As the word “complementary” implies, this is coverage that can be purchased in addition to the legal coverage covering accidents at work. Indeed, the legislator has capped the basis for calculating allowances at a legal salary ceiling of 44,817 euros per year.
If an employee suffers from long-term incapacity for work, for example following a serious surgical operation or an accident, “guaranteed income” insurance can ensure that this person’s loss of income remains limited. The statutory benefit decreases over time, which has significant financial consequences for the worker concerned. Supplementary insurance compensates for this problem. During the period of incapacity for work, a pension is paid in addition to the intervention of the health insurance fund. The employer can, for example, continue to guarantee workers 70% of their salary during their long-term absence.
Sometimes the line between work and private life is thin. What if your worker is hit by a vehicle on a business trip while jogging outside the hotel just before a meeting? You can also insure situations in which your employees are victims of accidents during their private life… Moreover, this insurance goes well beyond these cases which are at the limit between work and private life. It covers all possible accidents of a domestic, leisure, or sporting nature, even during holidays. However, it must be an “accident”, which implies the presence of a bodily injury that occurs on the occasion of a “sudden event”.