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. Here information is provided both on the health insurance system and on when you are adequately insured.


Health insurances

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 having the centre of your social, economic and cultural life in the Netherlands (ordinarily resident).
If you do, you are obliged to take out a Dutch public healthcare insurance within 4 months after you arrived in the Netherlands. If you do not, you have to make other insurance arrangements.

The Dutch public healthcare insurance system consists of three tiers: basic, additional and exceptional medical care. For the basic and additional medical care an insurance policy needs to be taken out (obligatory for the basic and voluntary for the additional medical care). Exceptional medical care covers costs such as long lasting nursery care. For the exceptional medical care (Wlz) you will automatically be insured if you meet the criteria.

The basiszorgverzekering is a standard insurance which costs about 100€ per adult person. People with a lower income can apply for a healthcare allowance, which will compensate some of the costs. You might be able to find a discount scheme, perhaps through your employer.

Each individual needs to take out his or her own insurance policy, this also applies to children, although they participate for free until they are 18 years old).

The basic medical care insurance covers most of the basic healthcare costs. Such as:

  • medical care which includes care provided by general practitioners, medical specialists and obstetricians
  • medication
  • hospital treatment
  • dental care up to the age of 18
  • postnatal care
  • limited physiotherapy, exercise therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and dietary advice

Healthcare insurers also offer supplementary packages to cover the cost of additional healthcare, these supplementary packages differ per insurance company.

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. Again there is a legally obliged minimum own risk of around 385€. Insurance companies tend to offer you the choice between an even higher 'own risk' with a lower monthly premium, or a the minimum 'own risk' with a higher monthly premium.
  • Take time to understand the additional healthcare insurance offers.
  • Find out if they offer any service in English as well (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.

Useful websites for comparing prices are:

Insurance company with service in English:

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 130% of the monthly premium over each month you have not been insured, with a maximum of 5 years. 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 with the set term in the letter, they will fine you. Unfortunately sometimes people who are not allowed a Dutch public healthcare insurance also receive this letter. 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 health care benefits zorgtoeslag, a financial contribution towards these costs for people with a lower income. You can apply for zorgtoeslag by logging in with your DigiD on the website of the Belastingdienst (Dutch only).

Several private insurance companies sell policies designed especially for students and researchers coming to the Netherlands. Three of these insurance companies include: AON, InsuretoStudy and StudentsInsured (IPS).

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. The latter is something that most Dutch healthcare insurance companies lack. The cost of the package is reasonable (about €45 per month).

  • InsureToStudy: InsureToStudy offers fast and smart student insurances for international students, PhD's, researchers and educational staff all for the same day premium. Their worldwide package covers medical costs, accidents, luggage, household effects, emergencies, liability and legal aid. Optionally, winter and underwater sports are covered. The travel insurance is included in the cover. Familiy members can benefit the same cover and same premium. InsureToStudy offers online service and provides customer service through Facebook, live chat and Whatsapp. Take a look at the website InsureToStudy for more information about student insurance plus PhD's, backpacking, Schengen visa, au pair and family member insurance. Furthermore, they also provide Dutch public healthcare insurance without the own risk. For more information, please contact InsureToStudy.
  • StudentsInsured: For over two decades, StudentsInsured provides a complete insurance package for international PhD candidates, the Insurance Passport for Students (IPS). The IPS student insurance covers medical costs, repatriation, legal aid, accidents, liability, luggage and household goods. StudentsInsured values fast, online personal service and provides customer service through Facebook, live chat and WhatsApp – so you have nothing to worry about during your stay abroad and in the Netherlands. Take a look at their website for more information about IPS Student Insurance.





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