Choosing suitable health insurance can be quite overwhelming when you’re new to the Netherlands. That’s why we created this complete guide to Dutch health insuranc. 

Who needs to take out Dutch health insurance?

In the Netherlands, Dutch health insurance is mandatory for all people working or living in the Netherlands for more than four months. An EU health insurance card or private health insurance from your country of origin won’t be enough. An exception is international students.

In the Netherlands, you decide on your health insurance company yourself, and you will be invoiced directly. 

You are obliged to take out Dutch health insurance within four months after your residence permit came into force or if you are an EU, EEA citizen or from Switzerland within four months after your registration at the municipality. Officially, your Dutch health insurance policy must be effective from the date of your registration or rather from the time your residence permit came into force. Meaning you’d have to retroactively pay the monthly fee of your health insurance from the date of your registration. However, in our experience, the government does not track these cases, and you’re usually fine if the activation date is the date you’re taking out the insurance.

If you didn’t take out Dutch health insurance within four months, you would receive a letter from the CAK (Centraal Administratie Kantoor) requesting to take out Dutch health insurance within three months. If you don’t do so, you’ll receive a fine and another extension of three months. After this period you’ll receive another penalty, and the CAK will register you with an insurer on your behalf and withhold the monthly fee for the insurance from your salary.

What are the benefits of Dutch health insurance?

Health is a very unpredictable good that can change quite quickly. As health costs are exceeding the funds of an average earner, health insurance in the Netherlands is mandatory and covers (unexpected) health costs that might emerge. The Dutch government therewith makes sure everyone in the Netherlands has access to and is entitled to primary health care needs. These primary needs are defined by the Dutch government and covered by basic health insurance (basisverzekering). People who are not able to pay for basic insurance are entitled to health care allowance.

Which services are covered by Dutch health insurance?

What services are covered by basic insurance (basisverzekering) is defined by the Dutch government and is the same with every insurance company. Dutch health insurance companies are not allowed to refuse admittance to basic insurance. Next to the basic insurance, which is mandatory, you can choose additional modules which cover special care like glasses, physiotherapy or dental care, etc. What the additional modules include and what the costs are is different with every Dutch health insurance company. Therefore, it makes sense to compare various insurance companies and choose coverage that meets your requirements.

Even though the Dutch Government is responsible for the accessibility and the quality of the Dutch healthcare system, Dutch insurance companies are located in the private sector. Therefore, their offer differs from one another.

What does Dutch health insurance cost?

Next to a monthly fee of the health insurance company, you should be aware of the mandatory excess (eigen risico), which is the yearly contribution you participate yourself to your health expenses. The minimum amount is determined by the Dutch government and changes slightly every year. In 2020 the excess is €385 and therewith remains the same as in 2019. However, if you are a healthy person and you don’t frequently see a doctor, you could think of increasing the mandatory excess which usually lowers your monthly fee. However, be aware that in case of emergency, you’d need to pay a higher amount for your medical bills. If you increase the mandatory risk, make sure you’ll have enough savings to cover unexpected health costs. 

Certain medical care does not count for your mandatory excess, including a visit to the GP and obstetric care.

Next to the monthly fee and the mandatory excess, to specific medicines, you need to pay a personal contribution. The CAK regulates for which medication extra costs are incurred. The own contribution never exceeds a maximum of € 250 per year.

It is also good to know that when you visit a doctor, you won’t be charged directly. The doctor will invoice your insurance, which will consider your mandatory access and if necessary, send you an invoice. If you get medicine with a personal contribution at the pharmacy, you usually have to pay the amount directly when collecting the medicine.

How do I find a suitable health insurance company?

Health insurances in the Netherlands are part of the private sector, meaning their insurance policies differ. Your monthly fee depends on Dutch which health insurance company and which additional modules you choose. There are multiple websites which allow you to compare different health insurance companies. Check Zorgkiezer, Independer or Zorgwijzer to find your perfect match.

Please be aware that most Dutch health insurance companies don’t provide an English website. Dutch health insurance companies who do are:

What are the requirements for getting health insurance in the Netherlands?

To get Dutch health insurance, you need to be registered in the Netherlands and possess a BSN.

Read more about health insurance in the Netherlands on the website of the Dutch government.

TIP: Depending on how high your income is, you might be entitled to receive healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag).