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). From the moment you start working, you are subject to Dutch social security legislation and thus have to obtain (at least) the 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.)
You may also need, however, extra coverage for additional medical treatment (such as extensive dental care, physiotherapy etc.) and that is where private health insurance providers (zorgvezekeraar) compete.
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 click here (in Dutch)
› To apply for the healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag) in the Netherlands click here
› The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport offers information about:
- Compulsory health insurance for those working in the Netherlands pdf (in 11 languages)
- Dutch health care (download pdf)