A Quick Guide to Healthcare Insurance in the Netherlands

One of the nice things about moving to the Netherlands is knowing that the Dutch healthcare system is going to be reasonably similar to the NHS in the UK. Sure, there are always going to be differences, but not the same kind of differences you’d expect if you moved to a country like Thailand or Indonesia.

That said, you do still need to familiarize yourself with how healthcare insurance works when you move from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands, so here’s a quick overview of the key points.

Healthcare Insurance is Mandatory

You’ll be glad to hear that the Dutch healthcare system is ranked as the best in Europe by the Euro Health Consumer Index. However, you do need to have either Dutch public health insurance or private health insurance to access facilities. As an expat living in the Netherlands, you will be able to apply for public healthcare insurance, but it’s generally a good idea to get private insurance that sees you covered from the get-go.

Your European Union Health Insurance Card (EHIC) Coverage

At least for the time being, you will be able to use your EHIC to access medical care while in the Netherlands. However, this is only the case if you are staying for less than a year and will not be working during that time. If this is not the case, health insurance is a necessity.

How to Apply for Dutch Health Insurance

You’ll have a four-month grace period in which to take out health insurance in the Netherlands after arriving. If you do not take the opportunity to do so, you could be billed for the time you spent without cover or find yourself facing a hefty fine.

When you do register, you’ll need to provide your Citizen Service Number (burgerservicenummer or BSN), which will have been provided either by your municipal authority or employer. Proof of residence in the Netherlands and an ID document are also required, as is a letter from your employer if you happen to be employed.

What is Covered?

The basic package covers all common medical care services, including GP visits, hospital care, maternal care, medication, and treatment from specialists. It’s pretty comprehensive, but private healthcare can cast a wider net. Psychiatric care and physiotherapy, for example, will only be covered by private insurance. Hospital stays will be more comfortable, and you should be seen to sooner.


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