Dutch health insurance for expats: What you need to know
ZorgWijzer.nl is a comparison site for Dutch health insurance providers. Find your preferred coverage via their English overview of health insurers in the Netherlands.
The Dutch health insurance system is quite different from many other European healthcare systems.
Dutch citizens may choose their own health insurance provider. These are semi-private companies that are obliged by the government to offer at least one basic health care package that covers essential health care expenses.
Additionally, the insurance companies each offer several supplemental and dental insurance policies to choose from.
There are significant price differences between all health insurance policies. This is because the Dutch healthcare system relies on a free market and competition.
It is therefore often worthwhile to consider switching to a different health insurance provider on an annual basis.
Before you choose a new health insurance policy in the Netherlands, there are a few things you need to know:
Do you need Dutch health insurance?
Expats (and their families) who start living and working in the Netherlands are obliged to obtain Dutch health insurance within four months after their residence permit commences.
If you are not sure whether or not you need health insurance in the Netherlands, you can contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB).
What does Dutch health insurance cover?
The Dutch basic health insurance (basisverzekering) already covers a substantial amount of medical care.
Basic insurance coverage
For example, the basisverzekering includes:
› Treatment by a GP
› Prescription medication
› Medical aids
› Ambulance transportation
› Hospital treatment/surgery
› Doctor consultation
› Psychological care
› Physiotherapy (for chronic conditions)
› Dental care for children
› Emergency medical care abroad
Supplementary insurance coverage
Optionally, you may choose extra insurance policies that supplement the basic cover.
Supplemental insurance, for example, covers:
› Dental care for adults
› Physiotherapy for non-chronic conditions
› Alternative and complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, homeopathy and osteopathy
› Glasses and lenses
› Dietary advice
How much does health insurance cost in the Netherlands?
Healthcare in the Netherlands is far more expensive than in most other western countries, and is funded via a variety of channels:
A primary source for health care payment are taxes: part of your salary tax (approximately 16 percent) is used to fund short- and long-term healthcare.
Besides tax, you pay a premium directly to the insurance provider on a monthly basis. Health insurance premiums in the Netherlands vary from 90 to 120 euros per month for the basic plan (basisverzekering).
The price difference between supplemental insurance premiums is even greater, however, this depends highly on the coverage chosen.
In 2017, the Dutch insurance premiums will likely increase between five and 10 euro a month.
Finally, all Dutch citizens pay a deductible excess (eigen risico) of 385 euro. You must pay this amount for most types of basic healthcare that you use. The excess accumulates during the year and resets when the next year commences.
Some healthcare types, such as GP consultations, birth care and healthcare for children are excluded from the excess. The mandatory excess normally changes each year, however, in 2017 it remains 385 euros.
Financial aid for health insurance
To help compensate for the costs of Dutch health insurance, it is important to note that expats are sometimes entitled to financial aid (zorgtoeslag) from the government.
There are, however, some conditions that must be met in order to claim zorgtoeslag:
› You are 18 years or older
› You have a residence permit and Dutch health insurance
› Your income does not exceed 27.012 euros for singles or 33.765 euros for families (in 2016)
› Your total equity (savings and assets) does not exceed a certain amount
Since health insurance premiums are increasing in 2017, the zorgtoeslag is also likely to increase.
How to choose an insurance provider?
Choosing a health insurance provider can be difficult as there are over 40 different providers which each offer several different plans.
Fortunately, there are several comparison sites that can help you choose the right policy in your situation.
ZorgWijzer.nl is one of the few sites that offers a comparison tool in English. Their tool will help you find an insurance policy that best suits your needs.
It is definitely worthwhile to compare the different health companies, their policies and their premiums.
Visit the English section to compare all available health providers in the Netherlands and find the one that best suits your needs!