Healthcare in the Netherlands
Every person who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, hospital treatment and prescription medication. You may also opt to take out additional insurance to cover costs not included in the standard package.
Standard Mandatory Healthcare Insurance
The Dutch government decides on the cover provided by the standard package. All insurers offer the same standard package. Healthcare insurers are obliged to accept anyone who applies for the standard insurance package and must charge all policyholders the same premium, regardless of their age or state of health.
The health insurance system in the Netherlands is based on the principle of social solidarity. Together, we all pay the overall cost of health care. Everyone contributes, for example, to the cost of maternity care and geriatric care.
What does the Standard Mandatory health insurance covers?
The Standard Mandatory health insurance covers:
Not all health care is covered by the standard package. You can opt to take out additional insurance to cover, for example, physiotherapy or dental care. Additional insurance is not obligatory and you are not obliged to take out the standard package and additional insurance with the same insurance company.
Insurance companies are not obliged to accept everyone who applies for additional insurance. An insurance company can refuse to accept you as a client or can ask you about your health before accepting you.
Can I change my insurance provider?
You can change to another health insurer at the end of each year. Whether or not you can also change your additional insurance depends on the policy conditions.
Health insurers offer a transfer service. They will cancel your old insurance for you if you take out a new policy with them before 31 December.
You are not obliged to take out additional insurance with the company that provides your basic package. If you apply for a basic package with a new insurer, you can keep the additional package with your current insurer and vice versa. Special conditions may apply to a ‘separate’ additional package. The premium may be higher or the insurer may apply a qualifying period. You will be insured during the qualifying period but certain costs will not be reimbursed. Your insurer can inform you of the conditions.
What are the costs of the Standard Mandatory Healthcare insurance?
You pay a fixed, nominal, premium to your insurance company for the standard health insurance package. The monthly premium for the obligated health insurance is approximately around € 90 – € 130 (2019) depending on your choices.
Besides the monthly premium there is a obligated own risk. The policy excess concerns healthcare costs that are not reimbursed. The government determined that the excess for 2019 amounts to € 385,-. Medical costs that exceed this sum are covered by your health insurance and will be paid by the insurer.
Does my employer also pays contribution?
In addition to the nominal premium All About Expats as your employer also pays an income-related contribution for the standard package. This contribution is directly remitted by All About Expats to the Healthcare Insurance Fund.
Dutch Healthcare insurances
The Netherlands has around 60 different Healthcare insurers. The top insurers for expats (with websites in English) are:
When comparing health care insurance packages the following items are relevant:
- How much own risk do you want to have?
- Do you want to have additional insurance?
- Do they cover a wide area of hospitals for emergency care?
An excellent comparison site which is available in English is: Zorgwijzer
Dutch insurance companies are obliged by law to offer the basic package to everyone. They cannot deny coverage because of gender, age or health profile. This obligation does not apply to additional insurance. You are not legally required to have additional insurance and insurers may reject applications for additional insurances. They are also free to decide the coverage and premium.
Register with the General Practitioner
After you have chosen your healthcare Insurance you must register yourself with a General Practitioner. You can find a Dutch General Practitioner in your area of residence online by using the Dutch word: “huisarts”.
What happens if you don’t have a Health insurance?
A fine is not the only negative consequence of not having a Dutch health insurance. If you need health care and you are not in possession of a health care policy, you will have to pay for the medical costs yourself. These costs include (hospital) treatment and medication and you will be directly charged for all the costs for (hospital) treatment and medication. Generally, these costs will quickly exceed the costs of the insurance premium you would pay if you were insured.
Good to know
- The General Practitioner is the first contact point when you become ill or other health problems arise. The GP will provide an examination and may prescribe medication that can be collected at the pharmacy. If this does not suffice, the GP can refer to specialists, institutions and hospitals for further examinations, treatments and care.
- Registering to a local pharmacy is also highly recommended as prescription medications can only be collected there.
- Hospitals in The Netherlands are usually nearby and provide a high level of care. Some hospitals are specialized in certain treatments or areas. The General Practitioner will refer you to the right hospital except if emergency medical care is required. In that case hospital care will be immediately available by calling 112.
- Health insurance companies sign contracts with health care providers, such as hospitals, clinics and therapists. Healthcare providers that have a standing agreement with the health insurance company are referred to as ‘contracted healthcare providers’. Reimbursements may be lower when care or treatment is supplied by a healthcare provider that does not have a standing agreement with the insurer. The reimbursement percentage mainly depends on the chosen policy.