Taking out Dutch health insurance
Dutch health insurance is required for all people who live and work in the Netherlands. You have to take out a health insurance policy within 4 months after you register in the Municipal Personal Records Database (BRP). Your health insurance will start from the day you registered at the municipality. You will be charged retroactively to cover your medical risk before taking up medical insurance. You may receive a letter from CAK (Central Administration Office) informing you about the compulsory health insurance and four-month period after your municipal registration.
Children can be insured through their parents’ health care plan until their 18th birthday. Please note that you will have to notify your health insurance if you have a child that is covered by your policy. You will have a maximum of 4 months after the birth of your child to register them with an insurance company.
Basic health insurance
The government decides on the standard package of health insurance. All health insurance companies need to offer this basic plan to everybody without exception and must charge all policyholders the same premium, regardless of their age or state of health. The premium does differ between insurance companies.
The following services are covered within this package, which costs around 100 euros per month at most providers:
- Medical care by General Practitioners (GPs) and medical specialists
- Hospital stay, surgery and treatments
- Medication (some may come at a premium)
- Emergency Medical Transportation
- Mental health care
- Paramedical care
- Up to 3 IVF treatments
- Prenatal and post-natal care
- Medical care by obstetricians and midwives
- Community nursing services
- Various medical appliances
- Medical assistance during a trip abroad
- Smoking cessation therapy
- Up to 3 sessions with a dietitian
- Speech therapy
- Dental help (up to the age of 18)
- Physiotherapy (up to the age of 18)
There are 2 different kind of insurance policies. You will have to select one when you pick a health insurance provider.
- Natura (policy in kind)
Your insurance company will directly contract health care providers to deliver services to you. You will have to see a health care supplier selected by your insurance company in order to get your costs fully covered. Your insurance will pay your health care provider without needing further payment from you. This option is usually cheaper than restitution as it limits your flexibility to select medical care.
- Restitution policy
At all times you are able to pick any health care provider you want to go to. You will have to pay the bills yourself and submit the receipts to your insurance company which will reimburse you. The premium for this policy is usually higher.
Deductible excess (eigen risico)
As part of your basic health insurance, there is an annual deductible of 385 euros that applies to most kinds of health care services. This means that you will have to cover the first 385 euros of certain medical expenses; once you go past this threshold, your insurance will pay for any additional costs. The deductible excess stacks up during the year and will start over again at January 1 of the new year.
The deductible is not applicable for children younger than 18 years of age, GP consults and treatment, or health care covered by supplemental insurance.
If you need extra medical care, you can take out additional insurance. You will not be able to change this throughout the year and will have to wait until December to change your insurance plan. Generally, you will be able to select premium coverage for:
- Dental care for adults
- Physiotherapy for non-chronic conditions
- Alternative healing and medication, such as acupuncture and homeopathy
- Glasses and contact lenses
- Traveller vaccinations
- Podiatric treatment
Prices for supplemental insurance vary considerably in price. It is worth comparing supplemental plans from various health insurance companies to find the best possible deal. Your insurance may ask you questions about your health before issuing you supplemental coverage.
Changing health insurance
You can only change health insurance at the end of the year. You need to cancel your current insurance policy before December 31 and sign up at another insurance company before January 31 again.
Compare health insurance plans
- Zorgwijzer is currently the only comparison tool in English to explore health insurance options.
- Independer offers comparison tools for many insurance types, including health care (in Dutch).
- Zorgkiezer is an independent website that helps you compare options for health care.
Healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag)
When you have healthcare insurance, you may be eligible to get healthcare allowance. This is a contribution towards the compulsory costs of having a healthcare insurance. Whether you are actually eligible for the health care benefits and how high the benefits would be, depends on your income and your household size. Once your income surpasses a certain threshold, you cannot apply for the allowance any more.