Health insurance is compulsory for all people who live or work in the Netherlands.
Expats from outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland who arrive in the Netherlands must take out Dutch health insurance within four months of receiving their residence permit, even if they have an existing foreign policy.
EU,EEA or Swiss nationals who are working in the Netherlands must take out Dutch health insurance within four months of registering at their Dutch city hall. If you are not working then you may be covered by the EU Health Insurance card.
Foreign students and Dutch health insurance
Foreign students are not always obliged to take out Dutch health insurance. Whether they are required to or not depends on several factors such as the duration of their stay, if they are doing work or an internship and whether they have insurance in their home country.
For more information see the Study in Holland page on healthcare insurance for students.
Dutch health insurance system
The new Dutch health insurance system (January 1st, 2006) is a combination of private health plans with social conditions built on the principles of solidarity, efficiency and value for the patient.
Health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory if you are here on a long-term stay and is designed to cover the cost of medical care. As a rule, all expats must have a Dutch health insurance even if they are already insured for healthcare in their homeland (for exceptions read other health insurances).
Healthcare in the Netherlands is funded through taxation: mandatory health insurance fees and taxation of income (pre-specified tax credits).
Within four months of receiving your residence permit (or registering at the city hall for EU/EEA nationals) you are subject to Dutch social security legislation and thus must obtain a basic health insurance (basisverzekering) package.
Basic health insurance package in the Netherlands
The basic package in the Netherlands costs around 100 euros per month and covers:
› general medical care (including medical specialists, hospital care, GP appointments etc.)
› hospital stays
› dental care (under 18 years old)
› limited dental care (over 18 years old)
› medicine prescriptions
› patient transport (ambulance services)
› paramedical care
› pre- and post-natal care
› midwifery services
› rehab services (dietician, physio etc.)
Extra insurance coverage (aanvullende verzekering)
You may also need extra coverage for additional medical treatment such as extensive dental care, physiotherapy etc. This is where private health insurance providers (zorgvezekeraar) compete to offer policies that are best tailored to your health needs and lifestyle.
Register with a GP (huisarts)
After you have chosen your Dutch health insurance provider, you should register with a general practitioner (huisarts). Every time you need a specific examination you should first liaise with your family doctor and he/she will refer you to the right hospital or clinic. A list with all nearby doctors can be found in your local pharmacy (apotheek).
Main health insurance companies in the Netherlands
› Dutch health insurance companies
› International health insurance companies
Hints & Tips about Dutch health insurance
› Dutch insurance companies are obliged by law to offer you the basic package. They can not deny coverage because of gender, age or health profile.
› You are not allowed to change your health insurance provider more than once a year.
› Those without basic insurance facing a fine amounting to 130 per cent of the premium health package.
› All those under 18 years old are insured for free.
› Many firms arrange collective agreements with insurance companies and offer a small discount to their employees.
› Be aware that there may be long waiting lists for certain services.
› Doctors can all be expected to speak English.
Useful links about Dutch health insurance
› To compare insurances and prices press here
› To apply for the healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) in the Netherlands click here
› The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport