Here you can find a detailed description of the healthcare insurance situation for foreign researchers in Holland, described in 16 steps.
1. Employed in the Netherlands
2. Exemption for people not in employment
3. Are you ordinarily resident?
4. How do I know for sure that I am ordinarily resident?
5. Where do I get a public healthcare insurance policy?
6. Am I fully insured with a public healthcare insurance policy?
7. Can I get financial help with my healthcare insurance premiums?
8. Can I apply for the healthcare allowance with a partner?
9. Burgerservicenummer (BSN)
10. Financial penalty
11. Family members
12. Cross-border workers
13. Cross-border workers and their family members
14. Foreign postings
16. I’m exempt from the requirement to take out a public healthcare insurance. What now?
If you are working as a researcher in the Netherlands under an employment contract, you will almost certainly be required to take out a public healthcare insurance, because you are subject to Dutch tax legislation. In certain circumstances, you may be employed in the Netherlands, but pay income tax in another country. This could be the case if your home country has a taxation treaty with the Netherlands. However, even then you are still subject to Dutch income and wage tax laws and you will therefore be required to take out a public healthcare insurance. When you are posted in the Netherlands by your employer abroad, and if there is a social security treaty between your country and the Netherlands, you are likely not to fall under the Dutch public healthcare insurance. Your home-country insurance will apply.
If you are a researcher, but you are not an employee, then it’s possible that you will not have to take out a public healthcare insurance because you are in an exempt group. The exemption covers foreign nationals under 30 years of age who come to the Netherlands solely for study purposes. So if you are a researcher, you’re under the age of 30, and you can show that your activities are only study-related, you will not be required to take out a public healthcare insurance. PhD fellows who are not in employment generally fall under this exempt rule. More information on the exemption can be found in the Nuffic-factsheet on incoming students (pdf)
Everyone who is ordinarily resident in the Netherlands is subject to Dutch social security laws and therefore has the obligation to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance. Foreign nationals are considered ordinarily resident when their stay is considered to be permanent (in contrast to a temporary stay).
Your stay is considered permanent when the centre of your economic, social and legal life is situated in the Netherlands. In that case, you are considered to be ordinarily resident.
In practice, the following rules of thumb are useful to determine whether you are ordinarily resident:
- Staying less than 1 year: you are presumed to be a temporary resident ;
- Staying 1-3 years: you are presumed to be a permanent resident; you may demonstrate to the authorities that your stay should be treated as temporary
- Staying longer than 3 years: you are presumed to be a permanent resident.
However, when you are a PhD fellow without an employment contract other rules may apply. For more information please read the above factsheet.
If you are still not sure whether you will be considered ordinarily resident, you can ask the SVB (the institute deciding who is ordinarily resident) to provide clarity on your situation. Nuffic and the SVB have created a form for this purpose.
All healthcare insurance companies offer the public healthcare insurance policy, and you are free to choose whichever insurer you prefer. Most host institutions have a group insurance contract with a healthcare insurer. If you opt for group insurance, you will be entitled to a discount on your premiums. Ask your host institution whether group insurance is available. Something else worth thinking about when choosing a public healthcare insurance policy is whether the insurer can provide all the information in English for you.
A public healthcare insurance covers the cost of basic medical care. Healthcare insurers also offer supplementary packages to cover the cost of additional healthcare. You should also check whether your policy provides cover outside the Netherlands. Be aware that a public healthcare insurance only covers medical expenses and not personal liability, accidents, repatriation to your home country, home contents or legal assistance, etc.
Everyone who has a a public healthcare insurance policy is entitled to apply for a healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag). This is a monthly payment from the government to help you with the cost of your healthcare premiums.
Whether you are entitled to receive the healthcare allowance depends on your income. Every year, you can submit your application for healthcare allowance for the previous year until 31 March. Applications should be made to the Allowances department of the Tax and Customs Administration.
If you have a partner, you can apply for the healthcare allowance with this partner. Your partner may be the person who you share a household with in the Netherlands, or the person with whom you are in relationship with. When your spouse lives abroad your situation is different. For more information go to Healthcare allowance.
9. Burgerservicenummer (BSN)
You need a burgerservicenummer (a unique ID number used in correspondence with the government) before you can take out a public healthcare insurance policy. When you cannot apply for a burgerservicenummer as you are not staying in the Netherlands for 4 months or longer, you can apply for a sofi-number.
If you are required to take out a public healthcare insurance, but fail to do so in time, you could have to pay a penalty of around 130% of the nominal premium for each month that you did not fulfil your obligation to have a public healthcare insurance.
Whether someone is eligible for or required to take out a public healthcare insurance depends on the individual situation. So to determine whether a partner or child is eligible for a public healthcare insurance depends on that person’s specific situation.
Children up to the age of 18 years pay no premiums for a public healthcare insurance. However, the parents are responsible for ensuring that their children have a public healthcare insurance policy.
International researchers who work in the Netherlands, but live in another country (for example Germany or Belgium) are likely to be required to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance. This applies only if you are working under an employment contract.
Under Council Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71, EU cross-border workers are generally insured for social security purposes in the country where they work. One of the exception to this situation is when they also work in their home country. The situation is even more complex for cross-border workers outside the EU. As far as we understand from the information available, workers in this category are subject to Dutch income and wage tax legislation. In other words, they are still insured in the Netherlands for social security purposes, and are therefore still required to take out a public healthcare insurance.
Important: if you are an international researcher and you pay income tax in another country (for example, under the ‘professors/teachers’ clause of a double taxation treaty between the Netherlands and your home country), you will still be required to take out a public healthcare insurance because you are still subject to Dutch income and wage tax laws, even though you pay your taxes elsewhere.
The department of ‘internationale detacheringen’ of the SVB (social insurance bank) can tell you exactly what your social security situation is.
* Cross-border workers are employees who work in the Netherlands, but live in another country of the European Union. They return home at least once a week.
Cross-border workers can have their family members included on their own public healthcare insurance policy. To do this, you need to submit form E-106 to your healthcare insurer or to the responsible healthcare authority in your country of residence. The insurance rules of the country of residence apply. You can get form E-106 from the insurance company in the Netherlands where you took out your a public healthcare insurance policy. Family members included on your policy must be registered with CvZ, the Dutch Health Care Insurance Board. Family members from the age of 18 pay a monthly premium to CvZ. Contact CvZ for further information.
If you are employed in another country, but have been posted to the Netherlands, you may be exempt from the requirement to take out a public healthcare insurance. This depends on whether there is a social security treaty between the country where you are employed and the Netherlands. Employees posted from another EU country do not need to take out a public healthcare insurance in the Netherlands as long as they are covered by the public healthcare system in their home country.
International interns will be required to take out a public healthcare insurance if they are paid more than reasonable expenses. If you are an intern and you only get paid a basic internship allowance, you will usually be treated as a student and will therefore not be required to take out a public healthcare insurance (more information can be found on the Nuffic website). Detailed information on what qualifies as a reasonable expense can be obtained from your Human Resource department or your local office of the Tax and Customs Administration.
If you are an international researcher and you are exempt from the public healthcare insurance,there are other options available to you.