Risks of not being insured

As a European citizen, you are most likely using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) during your temporary stay in the Netherlands. This card makes it possible to receive necessary healthcare abroad, comparable to the healthcare you are entitled to in your home country. However, if you finish your studies and decide to stay in the Netherlands, or if you decide to work in the Netherlands, you will need Dutch healthcare insurance. Idem if you are from a non-EU or EEA (including Switzerland) country. On this page you can find general information on the rules concerning healthcare insurance in the Netherlands and about the risks of not being insured.

What will happen if you don’t have Dutch health insurance?

If you are living, working or studying in the Netherlands there are a lot of unknown factors to take into account. It can be difficult to find a student dorm and the language may not sound understandable. You don’t want the Dutch health insurance to be yet another insecurity. However, it is important to be well informed on the topic. Having a basic healthcare insurance is obligatory in the Netherlands. The basic package is compiled by the Dutch government and offers high, quality and affordable health care to all Dutch citizens.

What are the different health insurance policies?

The Dutch government obliges the residents to take out at least the basic healthcare insurance. The basic health insurance covers costs such as hospital care, medication, rehabilitation and certain therapists and mental health care.

There exist more than 50 different health care policies in the Netherlands. These policies come with different conditions. The ones with a lower monthly premium do not cover 100% of the costs at all hospitals. The insurance companies made arrangements with certain hospitals. If you go to a non-contracted hospital you have to pay a percentage of the bill. This percentage differs per insurance company. You usually get between 65% and 80% refunded by the insurer. These policies are called Natura policies or budget policies. Be sure to read these conditions thoroughly before taking out Dutch basic health insurance.

The restitution policies come with a higher monthly premium. However, they give you freedom of choice of health care provider. Most of the times you pay the bill yourself after visiting a hospital or health care provider. Afterwards, you can submit the bill to your insurance company for reimbursement.

Why do you need Dutch health insurance?

Having basic healthcare insurance is obligatory in the Netherlands. Dutch citizens have to take out health insurance when they turn 18. Until then they are insured with their parent’s policy. Foreign students are only obliged to get basic healthcare insurance if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • If you are doing a paid internship or have a job in The Netherlands;
  • If you planned stay exceeds one year;
  • If you are 30 years or older.

If you meet at least one of these conditions you are obliged to take out basic health insurance in the Netherlands. If you do not do so within three months of arriving in the Netherlands you risk receiving a registration as a defaulter. Before the CAK (Centraal Administratie Kantoor) registers you as a defaulter they will send a written warning. If you fail to take out Dutch health insurance you are likely to receive a fine. The payment of the fine is 130% of the insurance premium during the period that you were not insured.

The exact same procedure will be repeated once if you still fail to pay the health insurance after three months. You will receive a fine of 130% of the premium again. After these three months, the CAK will insure you with any healthcare insurance company. The monthly premium and other costs made taking out the insurance will be withdrawn from your income.

What happens if you need Dutch health care and you’re not insured?

A fine is not the only negative consequence of not taking out Dutch health insurance. If you need health care and you do not own health care insurance, 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.

Do I need Dutch health insurance if I have international health insurance?

It can happen that you live in the Netherlands for four months or longer meaning you have to obtain Dutch health insurance but are in the possession of international health insurance. You should know that international health insurance might not be recognized by the Dutch government resulting in the insurance not being valid. It is advised that upon entering the Netherlands you look into your insurance policy to get more insight into the coverage.

Dutch health insurance for European students

If you are a European student coming to the Netherlands to take a semester at a Dutch university you are most likely using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This is allowed by the government because you are staying temporarily in the Netherlands. If you wish to stay in the Netherlands after finishing your studies you will need to take out Dutch health insurance. This also applies when you are from a non-EU or EEA country (including Switzerland).

Care benefit

Because basic healthcare insurance is obligatory, but not everybody is able to pay the insurance premium due to low or no income, you can file for a healthcare allowance with the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst). This governmental support helps you to pay the insurance premium for basic healthcare. The amount you will receive depends on your income and savings.

Taking out Dutch health insurance

If you are a student in need of Dutch health insurance you don’t want to pay too much for it. On this page, you can find the top 5 student health insurances. Choose whether you want a deductible excess and the freedom of choice of health care providers and find out the best match for you.