Health insurance is one of the first things you should consider arranging when you decide to study abroad. Health insurance in the Netherlands can be costly and confusing to navigate, but luckily College Life knows you’d rather be spending your time doing other things. That’s why we’ve teamed up with United Consumers to help make health insurance understandable and affordable.
Do You Need Health Insurance in the Netherlands?
From the EU/EEA?
When the European Union was formed, many benefits could be shared across borders. In addition to capital, labor, goods, among many other national services, health insurance is valid across borders. This means that, if you already have a European insurance provider, you’re covered in the Netherlands through your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Prior to arriving in the Netherlands, you can request an EHIC from your local government at no additional cost. This EHIC ensures that you are insured in all EEA countries and Switzerland. Most of the time, this coverage takes the form of post factum reimbursements; you’ll most probably have to send the invoices to your insurance agency.
Also, please note that this doesn’t mean you don’t need travel insurance. If you go on a trip to another European country where you’ll be doing extreme sports or are at risk of theft, consider purchasing temporary travel insurance. The EHIC only applies to health insurance you would normally receive in your home country.
In the case that you want to work in the Netherlands, even if you are European, you must purchase a Dutch health insurance plan. An EHIC is not sufficient to obtain a work contract.
If you do not already have European health insurance and are coming to study in the Netherlands, you must purchase Dutch health insurance. Everyone in the Netherlands is required to have health insurance. As a potential or current resident of the Netherlands, you must abide by this rule. An insurance plan from your non-European home country is not valid. In addition, not having insurance here in the Netherlands would quickly become very costly for you if you ever had an accident or emergency.
Need a visual summary? Check out this flowchart:
- You DO NOT need Dutch health insurance if: you have an EHIC and will NOT be working in the Netherlands.
- You DO need Dutch health insurance if: you have an EHIC and WILL be working in the Netherlands, or DO NOT have a European health insurance
How It Works
The Netherlands has a very liberal health care system in that it truly believes in coverage and high-quality health-care for all. The Health Insurance Act of 2006 was enacted under the belief that all residents in the Netherlands should have access to basic health insurance. This means that insurance companies work closely under government regulation to ensure that premiums are affordable and fair. This also means that almost all health insurance companies in the Netherlands have the consumers’ interest in mind: most profits they earn are translated into lower insurance premiums for consumers.
Therefore, the Dutch health insurance market is very fair and transparent. The basic health insurance is the same for all health care companies, the benefits are the same regardless of the service. You cannot be refused from an insurance company due to your age or a pre-existing condition.
Dutch basic healthcare
Healthcare here in the Netherlands is pretty complex and exists in multiple forms. Most of the time when you hear about Dutch healthcare, it’s actually referring to compulsory basic healthcare.
There are various health insurance policies in the Netherlands. The cheapest and most basic form of insurance is basisverzekering (basic healthcare) and is required for all residents of the Netherlands who do not have an EHIC.
Basic health insurance costs around 101,35 euros per month and covers basic essential medical care such as:
- Doctor’s appointments (huisarts)
- Stays at the hospital, surgery and emergency treatment (ziekenhuis)
- Medical transportation such as ambulance services (ambulancevervoer)
- Medicine prescriptions (medicijnen)
- Mental health care
- Dietary advice
- Therapy: speech, dyslexia etc
There are two different policies: restitutiepolis (restitution policy), natura polis (in-kind policy).
With the restitution policy, you are given free choice of your health provider and have to pay the bill yourself. You then need to send your bill to your insurance company in order to be reimbursed. Depending on your contract, the reimbursement will be anywhere from 70–80% of what the company determines is the fairest price for that treatment. This policy is slightly more expensive due to its relative freedom.
With an in–kind policy, your insurer has a network of professionals they have agreements with. When you go to these providers, the insurance company pays your bills directly. However, if ever you choose to go to a provider not included in the contract, you’ll have to pay for the treatment up front and get reimbursed later. This reimbursement is optional and depends on the health insurer.
Additional health care
If you would like to get coverage for more extensive medical attention, such as dentistry or physical therapy, you can purchase extra insurance (aanvullendeverzekering). Additionally, you can set your own deductible (eigen risico). This deductible is an annual amount you have to pay yourself before your insurance covers any costs and is limited at maximum 385 euros per year. This excludes services such as appointments with your general practitioner and maternity care and is not required if you have no medical costs for the year. The monthly price of your health care depends on how much extra insurance you purchase and how high you set your deductible.
Though there are many health providers here in the Netherlands here is a list of the largest ones:
Health Insurance allowance
Getting health insurance here is a considerable investment which can be unaffordable for many. One of the greatest aspects of health insurance in the Netherlands is that there is zorgtoeslag (healthcare allowance). This is a monthly subsidy provided by the government to compensate citizens for their healthcare expenditures. The government does this to ensure that all citizens can afford healthcare. Currently, the healthcare allowance is set at 94 euros per month. This, however, depends on your income level. This subsidy is paid to your Dutch bank account every month before the end of the month, several days before your health insurance premium is taken from your bank account. Please note that this is not automatically done for you when you sign up for health insurance. You must apply for healthcare allowance on the Dutch government website.
Sign Up for Health Insurance with United Consumers
United Consumers is a collective consumer services provider. The company purchases large portions of services, in this case, healthcare, and thus pays a discounted price to providers. Then, when United Consumers allocates these services to individuals, they divide the discount they received over the consumers. This means you’re getting quality health insurance for the lowest possible price. This is service and price quality, guaranteed.
College Life and United Consumers know you’ve got a lot on your plate. We want to help you phase smoothly into student life in the Netherlands. We recognize that health insurance in the Netherlands is difficult for international students to arrange. And that’s why we wanted to help. Now, you can find the best insurance at stellar prices all in one place.
Feeling overwhelmed and disoriented by this whole process? Don’t worry! We’ve partnered with United Consumers in order to help you get the best out of your experience in the Netherlands. United Consumers is a collective consumer services provider. The company purchases large portions of services, in this case, healthcare, and pays a discounted price to providers. Then, United Consumers allocates these services to individuals, dividing the discount they received among the consumers. This means you’re getting quality health insurance for the lowest possible price. Service, price and quality, guaranteed!
We recognize that health insurance is difficult to find for international students. Now, you can find the best insurance at the best price all in one place!
Don’t wait, sign up for health insurance in the Netherlands.