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Dutch health insurance

Take out health insurance in the Netherlands

Are you coming to live, work or study in the Netherlands? In most cases, you are obliged to take out Dutch basic health insurance. This offers cover against medical costs. Examples include a visit to a doctor, emergency care or a stay in a hospital.  Visit Zorgverzekering.net to find out whether you also need Dutch health insurance. 

Working or living in the Netherlands? Take out health insurance within four months

When you come to live or work in the Netherlands, you are obliged to take out Dutch health insurance. You must take out health insurance from the first day you live or work in the Netherlands. If you’re unable to do so straight away, you have four months at the latest to arrange the health insurance. If you come to work in the Netherlands, your employer or employment agency will often help you with this. 

You can take out Dutch health insurance regardless of which country you come from. However, additional rules may apply. For example, if you’re not from an EU country, you need a residence permit to apply for health insurance. The same applies if you’re from Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland.

What happens if I don’t take out health insurance? 

If you are uninsured in the Netherlands, you will receive a message from the CAK (the Central Administration Office for Exceptional Medical Expenses). You must then take out basic health insurance within three months or demonstrate you don’t need to insure yourself. If you fail to do so, you risk a fine. After two fines, the CAK automatically registers you with a health insurer. Subsequently, premiums will be deducted from your income for 12 months. This is 120% of the standard premium.  

You do not have to pay the premium retroactively for the period that you were not insured. During that period you do pay the costs for medical care yourself. In short, we advise you to take out Dutch health insurance yourself if you need it.

 Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB)

Dutch health insurance not compulsory with a foreign employer from a treaty country

Dutch health insurance is not always compulsory if you come to live and work in the Netherlands. An exception applies if you have a foreign employer. In that situation, you often remain insured through the health insurance in the country of origin. There are rules for this, though. For example, this regulation usually only applies if you work in an EU or EEA country or a treaty country.  You can read more about health insurance in the Netherlands and the treaty countries on the English-language site of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB). 

Treaty policy for Dutch healthcare

If you live in the Netherlands, but don’t have Dutch health insurance because you have a foreign employer, it may be wise to take out a treaty policy. The chance you need care in the Netherlands is relatively high. Under this policy, you will be reimbursed for care in the Netherlands as if you had a Dutch health insurance policy. This can be useful if your health insurer does not cover the same healthcare costs as in the Netherlands. You can also include family members in the treaty policy. The condition is that they do not also work for a Dutch employer. 

You do not have to pay a premium for the treaty policy, because you already do this for your own foreign health insurance. However, you may have to pay a compulsory excess for certain healthcare in the Netherlands. This means you first have to pay healthcare costs yourself before you are reimbursed for the healthcare. The compulsory excess in 2023 is €385. The excess does not apply to all healthcare. Examples include visits to the doctor or maternity care. 

Where can I apply for a treaty policy?

In the Netherlands, you can only apply for the treaty policy from health insurer CZ. The condition is that your foreign insurance has been taken out in an EU or EEA country, Switzerland or another treaty country. You will find an overview of all treaty countries on the CZ website. You can apply for the treaty policy via the online registration form You do, however, need a treaty form E106, S1 or E121 (when receiving a pension or benefit). You can request this from your current insurer.  

Additional insurance to the treaty policy

The treaty policy only covers basic healthcare. Visits to the dentist or physiotherapist are not always covered. You can take out additional insurance for this. You can take out additional health insurance in the Netherlands with a health insurer of your choice. When taking out additional health insurance, do not only pay attention to the premium, but also check out the conditions. 

Co-insuring family members

If anything changes in your situation, you must notify the health insurer within four months. For example, suppose you or your partner are going to work for a Dutch company. As a result of that change, you may no longer be entitled to the treaty policy and you may have to take out regular Dutch health insurance. If you incur healthcare costs while you are no longer entitled to the treaty policy, those costs are for your own account, as long as you have no alternative.

Studying in the Netherlands and your health insurance 

Only coming to study in the Netherlands as a foreign student and wondering whether you need to take out health insurance? The answer is: no. In that case it is not even possible to apply for Dutch basic health insurance. However, it is wise to take out health insurance in your home country with good cover abroad. Dutch health insurance is compulsory if you start working in the Netherlands in addition to your studies or get paid through your internship. 

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Are you from an EU country or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom and are you staying here exclusively for your studies? In that case too, Dutch health insurance is not necessary. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can come in handy. With this European health insurance card, necessary medical care is reimbursed if you are staying abroad temporarily. You can apply for an EHIC from your health insurer in your home country. Check whether you can use this during your studies. The rules for this differ per EU country. 


How do I take out Dutch health insurance

If you need Dutch health insurance, you must first be registered in a municipality before you can apply. Visit Zorgverzekering.net to compare and take out Dutch health insurance policies directly. The healthcare premiums shown are the amounts per month. 

How to apply for Dutch health insurance

  1. Determine in advance which care you need and check whether this care is covered by the Dutch basic health insurance. If not, you may need to take out additional health insurance for this. “

  2. Determine the type of basic health insurance. Generally, there are two types: the in-kind policy and the non-contracted care policy. Often, the cover is basically the same with every insurer. The difference mainly lies in the freedom you have to choose your own healthcare provider. In the case of a non-contracted care policy, you can go to any healthcare provider and receive full reimbursement for the healthcare. With an in-kind policy, you can only get full reimbursement from contracted care providers. If you go to a non-contracted care provider, you may have to pay part of it (20 to 30%) yourself. 

  3. Determine your excess. The standard excess in 2023 is €385. You can increase the excess to a maximum of €885 against a premium discount. However, you should only do this if you expect to need little care, otherwise, the healthcare costs up to €885 are payable by you.  

Depending on your income, you can apply for a healthcare allowance after taking out your health insurance policy. If you have a low income, you can receive a contribution from the Dutch government to keep health insurance affordable. You can read more about this on the English site of the central government.