Visits to your doctor are free but that’s about it. Prescriptions, specialists, hospital treatments – all of that will cost you. But you probably won’t be aware of it because the pharmacy and the hospital will send their bills to your insurance company and your insurance company will pay them – without ever checking with you.
However, if you have not yet paid your full own risk or excess charge (€385 to €885 a year) your insurance company will send you its own bill and you will be expected to pay it.
This is where you need to take care. If you have any doubts about the size of the bill at all, you need to question it. Hospitals and health insurance companies get it wrong all the time.
Hospital bills are drawn up according to a complicated system of codes known as a DBC. The DBC (Diagnose Behandel Combinatie) involves giving each potential step in a course of treatment (there are over 30,000) an average price. This means you pay the average price of whatever treatment you’ve had… which gives rise to some crazy situations.
We’ve know someone who was charged €470 to have a plaster put on a profusely bleeding cut knee because it was classified as ‘a small surgical operation’.
So check, and make a fuss if you have any doubts at all.