Health insurance

Living in Europe | Health insurance | Netherlands

During your stay in the Netherlands you must make sure you are adequately insured, both for your health and other risks. Your host institution can advise you on which insurance to take out/bring. On this page you can find information on the health insurance system and a list of other insurances you should consider in order to be adequately insured. Read up on how the following topics are relevant for health insurance.

Which healthcare insurance applies to you

Last updated February 2021

Below you can find a flowchart for international researchers and PhD students. This flowchart is for information purposes, no rights can derived from it, and your host institution will be your first point of call in assisting you to get appropriate health insurance. Note the following before consulting the flowchart:

  • This flowchart does not apply when you are employed by a Dutch institution but live and work abroad. This flowchart only applies to people that are performing their work in the Netherlands.
  • This flowchart does not apply to partners, children or family members of the employee or researcher.
  • This flowcahrt does not apply when you are doing an internship.
  • The right on health insurance is also the obligation to take out a publich health insurance. 
 

a flow chart of health care

 

 

If you are not employed, it is a right and an obligation to be insured through Dutch social insurances (as per the Long-term Care Act (Wlz), only if you are regarded a permanent resident by the designated authority, the SVB (Sociale Verzekeringsbank).

Among other things, the location of your social, legal and economic life determines whether your stay is temporary or not. Broadly speaking you can presume to be a temporary resident if your stay in the Netherlands will last less than a year.

Aspects that will be considered when looking at your case:

  • Intention: Do you have the intention to go back to your home country after your temporary stay in the Netherlands or are you planning on staying in the Netherlands for a longer time?
  • Housing: Did you sell your house in your home country? Did you buy a house in the Netherlands?
  • Family: Do you have a family and if so, where do they live?
  • Return to home country: Do you regularly visit to your home country or does your whole life take place in the Netherlands?

When it is not clear if you can and need to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance, it is possible to receive a decision from the SVB by applying for an assessment of your Wlz position via the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank.

 

 

Insurance Checker

Each country has it’s own way of dealing with unexpected or unpleasant costs. The Netherlands has a highly developed insurance culture, in which everyone is expected to be appropriately insured. Nuffic has developed the insurance checklist to provide students and researchers an insight into the possible costs you might want to be insured for, you can find the insurance checklist this webpage of Study in Holland

Posted Workers

Employees posted by their employer to an organisation in the Netherlands are often covered by the health insurance scheme of the country of their employer. This is not always the case and it depends on if there is a social security treaty between the other country and the Netherlands. For more information please refer to this webpage of the Dutch Sociale Verzekeringsbank SVB.

Crossborder worker

If you work in the Netherland and you live in another EU/EEA country, you are in most cases covered by the Dutch health insurance. To be sure about which rules apply to your situation, it is advisable to check this webpage from the Sociale Verzekeringsbank.

Types of healthcare insurance

Dutch public healthcare insurance

You will participate in the Dutch public healthcare insurance if you fall under the Dutch social security - either through being employed by a Dutch employer or through long-term residency. Please check the flowchart on this webpage to see if you qualify for public health care insurance. The HR department of your employer will also be able to provide you with information. For more information about the rules and regulations around health care insurance, please visit this government website.

Finding a suitable insurance

Although it is a public health insurance scheme, the insurance policies are provided by private insurance companies. Each company offers a slightly different package and competes on different service levels. They cannot cut on the minimum coverage, so that will be provided with every insurer. Things to look out for:

  • Own risk component - which 'eigen risico' (Dutch for 'own risk') will suit you.
  • Find out if they offer any service in English (not only basic information, but also declaration forms etc).
  • Find out if you can get discount through an organisation. By law organisations, unions, clubs etc. can be given up to 10% discount if they hook up with one insurance company.
  • Find out what the rules are around traveling abroad and healthcare coverage. Most insurances now provide the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) automatically, but this is not always the case. This EHIC can make your life easier if you travel within Europe and find you need urgent medical treatment.

Be aware that a public healthcare insurance only covers medical expenses and repatriation costs back to the Netherlands. For other costs, such as repatriation back to your home country, or liability, you will need to take out an insurance with a different insurance company.

Fine

If you are entitled to a Dutch public health insurance you also have the obligation to take out such an insurance. If you do not comply with this obligations you may be fined. The CAK will send you a letter stating that you ought to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance, and if you fail to do so within the set terms stated in the letter, they will fine you. Always take action when you receive such a letter.

Healthcare benefits

If you are enrolled in the Dutch public health insurance, you are entitled to apply for a healthcare benefits 'zorgtoeslag', a financial contribution towards these costs for people with a lower income. You can apply for healthcare benefits from the Belastingdienst.  For general information about health care insurances you can consult the website of the 'zorgverzekeringslijn', this government subsidised institution will provide you with accurate and objective advice.

Dutch private healthcare insurance

Several private insurance companies sell policies designed especially for students and researchers coming to the Netherlands. These insurance companies provide an insurance package including healthcare insurance, as well as liability insurance, accident insurance, theft insurance, travel insurance, repatriation insurance and legal aid insurance. They provide adequate healthcare cover and information in English.

Companies that provide services to international students and researchers are AON, Insure to Study and Heilbron.

Healthcare insurance & immigration procedures

Foreign nationals applying for a residence permit do not have to demonstrate that they have medical insurance. However, the residence permit will always be issued on condition that the bearer will take out health insurance at least within 4 four months.

 

For more information about healthcare insurance & immigration procedures visit this webpage hosted by the Dutch government.

Other helpfull information

Government non-profit information centre regarding healthcare insurance.

The Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) implements social insurance schemes, such as AOW pension, child benefit (AKW) and the personal care budget (PGB). If you qualify for a pension or benefit, they can help you by providing information and making sure that you get what you are entitled to. They prevent and fight misuse by checking that they do not make payments to people who are not entitled to them.

They are also involved in preparing and testing new schemes and regulations. They make sure they can be implemented smoothly and efficiently, for as little cost as possible. It is their task to advise the Dutch government this.

At the SVB you can apply for an assessment to see if you qualify for Dutch Public Health Insurance (Wlz assessment) by visiting this webpage.

Are responsible for health care benefits and have specific information about health care for people that move to the Netherlands from abroad.

This is an umbrella organisation of 10 Dutch health Insurance providers

Information on the EHIC on the European Commission's website.