Glossary healthcare insurance

You’ll find that Dutch healthcare insurance policies on various occasions use difficult terms that you’ve probably never heard before. For that reason, we’ve created a glossary with short explications of the meaning of some frequently used terms regarding Dutch healthcare insurance.

Eigen risico ‘deductible or excess’

The deductible excess or ‘eigen risico’ in Dutch literally means ‘own risk’. That means that you have to pay the first €385,- (2021) of healthcare costs from the basic package yourself. After the amount is reached, all further healthcare expenses are fully covered. The deductible excess is established by the Dutch government each year. This is called the obligatory deductible excess. Some forms of healthcare are exempt from the deductible excess, such as healthcare received from your GP. You can freely choose for a higher deductible excess in case you expect low healthcare costs, this is called voluntary deductible excess or ‘vrijwillig eigen risico’.

Eigen bijdrage ‘personal contribution’

Some forms of healthcare, tools or medication require a personal contribution. The personal contribution has to be paid each time the particular healthcare, tool of medication is received. In case the deductible excess applies, first the personal contribution has to be paid. The pending deductible excess will be taken off the remaining amount.

Zorgkeuze ‘freedom of choice’

‘Zorgkeuze’ is the freedom you have to choose from different hospitals in the Netherlands. Depending on your policy, you can choose limited freedom of choice or complete freedom. The premium of limited freedom of choice insurance policies is lower, due to healthcare contracts with different hospitals. The limited freedom of choice however only applies to non-urgent healthcare. For emergencies, you can always go to the nearest hospital. You can compare different health insurance companies regarding the freedom of choice using our student health insurance tool.

Zorgtoeslag ‘healthcare allowance’

To support lower-income groups, such as students, the Dutch government created the ‘zorgtoeslag’ or healthcare allowance. This allowance helps you to pay your monthly healthcare insurance premium. The amount you can receive is determined by your income and savings. Check out our page on healthcare allowance for more information.

Medische acceptatie ‘medical acceptance’

Next to the compulsory basic package, you can choose to take out supplemental healthcare insurance. For some of these supplemental packages, that contain high coverage for orthodontics or treatments at the dentist, for example, medical acceptance can apply. That means your healthcare insurer can ask for a statement from your dentist, in this case, to see if you currently have healthy teeth with no major maintenance ahead. Your insurer can also ask you to fill out a questionnaire. You are thus not automatically accepted for these supplemental insurances.

Basispakket ‘Basic package’

The Dutch healthcare insurance can be split up into a basic package and supplemental packages or insurances. All healthcare covered in the basic package is determined by the Dutch government and can change each year. Examples of healthcare in the basic package are healthcare at your GP, hospitals and medication. Everybody that works and lives in the Netherlands needs to take out basic healthcare insurance. The basic package is compulsory. To support lower-income groups to pay the premium, the healthcare allowance is introduced.

Aanvullend pakket ‘Supplemental package’

Next to the compulsory basic healthcare insurance, you can optionally add supplemental health insurance. You can either choose from packages that contain for example coverage for physiotherapy, alternative healing, birth control or glasses and contact lenses. Other healthcare insurance companies offer the possibility of separate modules: you can choose to only add a specific form of healthcare. For example, a module with coverage for 9 treatments of physiotherapy.

Collectiviteitskorting ‘Collectivity discount’

Healthcare insurance companies offer discount options to collectivities. That means that through your employer or university you might be entitled to a 5% discount on the basic package. When applying for healthcare insurance you can enter the name or collectivity number of your organisation or institution to see if you can get a discount.

Naturapolis vs restitutiepolis

When you take out basic healthcare insurance in the Netherlands, some healthcare insurance companies offer different policies.

  • The ‘naturapolis’ is a policy with limited freedom of choice for non-urgent healthcare in hospitals. The premium of these policies is lower due to healthcare contracts made with different hospitals. Furthermore, healthcare bills are directly paid by your healthcare insurer.
  • The ‘restitutiepolis’ is a policy with complete freedom of choice for non-urgent healthcare in Dutch hospitals. That means that you can choose from any hospital or clinic, even though no contract exists between them and your healthcare insurer. Furthermore, the restitution policy requires you to pay health care bills in advance, to be refunded later by your healthcare insurer.
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