Expat health insurance in The Netherlands

Expats that are living and/or working in the Netherlands are usually required to take out basic health insurance to cover the costs of (unexpected) medical care, such as consulting a General Practitioner (GP), medication and hospital treatment. A basic Dutch health insurance is available for approximately 110 euros.

Optionally, additional insurance, such as coverage for dental care, is available at a higher monthly premium. This FAQ discusses several questions related to health insurance for expats residing in the Netherlands.

When is it required to obtain a Dutch health insurance?

If you are from the EU/EER you are obliged to obtain a health insurance in The Netherlands when:

  • You have a (part-time) job and/or pay income tax in The Netherlands


  • You are over 30 years old and your stay in The Netherlands is not temporary

If you are not from the EU/EER you must select a basic Dutch health insurance within four months after receiving your permanent residence permit.

health insurance expats


Other rules apply for students that are in The Netherlands for study purposes only. They do not have to take out Dutch health insurance.

Check our guide for information about mandatory health insurance for students

Good to know:

If you have any doubts about your insurance status and want to make sure your where you stand: Contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) via this page.

You can do a short test to find out whether you are insured under the Dutch Wlz (Wet langdurige zorg) scheme and must take Dutch health insurance.

Family members

Your family members that live with you in The Netherlands must also obtain a Dutch health insurance. Except, when they work outside The Netherlands.

In case you work in The Netherlands but your family lives abroad: your family can be could be co-insured with you for medical cover. This depends on your situation and the home country regulations.

Follow these steps: 

If you live with your family in the EU/EER:

  1. Request a S1 document for every family member through www.hetcak.nl.
  2. Send the documents to their current insurance company or national health service.
  3. Their current insurance company or health service organization will decide if your family members can be insured. They will contact the CAK about this.
  4. U will receive a confirmation from the CAK about your family's insurance status.

If you live with your family in another treaty country:

  1. Request a form 109 from your Dutch health insurance company.
  2. Send the documents to their current insurance company or national health service.
  3. Their current insurance company or health service organization will decide if your family members can be insured. They will contact the CAK about this.
  4. U will receive a confirmation about your family's insurance status from the CAK and/or your current insurance company.

Treaty countries (besides EU/EEA): Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Macedonia, Montenegro, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey.

How does the Dutch health care system work?

The Dutch healthcare system consists of several compartments:

  1. Short-term medical care, for example, consulting a GP, hospital treatments, medication, certain therapies and mental care
  2. Long-term medical care for elderly, people with disabilities or chronically diseased
  3. Supplementary health care, for instance, physiotherapy, dental care and alternative medications/treatments

Only 1 and 2 are part of the mandatory basic health insurance. Supplementary health care is paid out of pocket or insured via a supplementary private health insurance.

General Practitioner (GP)

The GP is the first contact point when you become ill or other health problems arise. The GP will provide an examination and may prescribe medication that can be collected at the pharmacy. If this does not suffice, the GP can refer to specialists, institutions and hospitals for further examinations, treatments and care.

After taking a health insurance it is important to register with a doctor’s practice nearby as finding a GP when you become ill, will often be difficult. When a GP is not available a doctors post (huisartsenpost) can be contacted for matters that can be resolved without hospital care.


Registering to a local pharmacy is also highly recommended as prescription medications can only be collected there.


Hospitals in The Netherlands are usually nearby and provide a high level of care. Some hospitals are specialized in certain treatments or areas. The GP will refer you to the right hospital except if emergency medical care is required. In that case hospital care will be immediately available by calling 112.

Insurance companies and healthcare providers

Health insurance companies sign contracts with healthcare providers, such as hospitals, clinics and therapists. Healthcare providers that have a standing agreement with the health insurance company are referred to as ‘contracted healthcare providers’.

Reimbursements may be lower when care or treatment is supplied by a healthcare provider that does not have a standing agreement with the insurer. The reimbursement percentage mainly depends on the chosen policy

What does the Dutch health insurance cover?

The basic Dutch health insurance covers essential medical care, such as:

  • Visits and treatments by a GP
  • Prescribed medication
  • Hospital stays and treatments
  • Health care provided by (non-) physician specialists

Basic coverage

Although 'basic' may suggest otherwise, the basic health insurance cover is already quite substantial.

It also includes:

  • Midwifery (birth-care)
  • Certain medical aids and health programs
  • Psychological and mental health care
  • Physiotherapy for people with chronic diseases/conditions
  • Basic dental care (under the age of eighteen)
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Emergency medical care abroad up to the Dutch tariffs

Everyone in The Netherlands has a basic health insurance, regardless of their chosen health insurance company. This is because the basic healthcare package is set up by the government and bound to health laws and regulations.

Additional coverage

The basic health insurance can be expanded by selecting a supplemental health insurance. If desired, supplemental health insurance is available.

These optional insurance plans may cover a wide range of extras, such as physiotherapy (for non-chronic conditions), acupuncture, homeopathy, vaccinations, pedicure, orthodontics and dental care (for adults).

Around 50 percent of the Dutch population has a supplemental insurance, mostly for dental care and physiotherapy.


In general there are three main types of basic health insurance:


This is the most common policy and has average premiums. Policy holders with a ‘naturapolis’ may choose from a wide range of contracted hospitals and clinics.

Usually most healthcare providers have a standing agreement with the insurer. Reimbursement is around 50 to 75 percent when a policy holder decides to go to a healthcare provider that does not have a standing agreement with the insurer.


The budgetpolis is generally the cheapest option for basic health insurance. However, there are often several limitations regarding choice of healthcare providers.

For most ‘budget’ policies, plannable treatments, such as a knee operation or cancer treatment is only available in a selection of contracted hospitals. In other words, the choice of health care providers is generally lower compared to the regular naturapolis. Reimbursement is around 50 to 75 percent when a policy holder decides to go to a healthcare provider that does not have a standing agreement with the insurer.


The restitutiepolis usually offers a slightly wider choice of contracted healthcare providers. Moreover, the reimbursement percentage in case of non-contracted healthcare is up to 100 percent. The downside of the restitutiepolis is a higher premium.


When comparing and choosing a health insurance it is recommended to study the policy terms and conditions carefully.

Zorgwijzer offers comparisons in different languages:

If necessary, ask a Dutch speaking friend or colleague to assist you.

How much does a Dutch health insurance cost?

The average basic Dutch health insurance premium in 2020 is about 120 euro per month.

Premiums are paid directly by each person to the chosen health insurance company. The amount depends on the chosen healthcare policy, deductible excess and selected supplemental coverages (if applicable).

Besides the mandatory premium, healthcare in The Netherlands is also funded by other means:

  • Income tax
  • Deductibles

Income tax

Employers pay a percentage of their employees’ income to the tax authorities (6,70 percent in 2020) with a maximum income of around 55.000 euro.

Employers, freelancers and people with their own company pay 5,45 percent of their income with the same maximum. In addition, everyone pays 9,65 percent of their income (with a maximum of 33.994 euro) in order to fund long-term medical care.

Deductible excess

Everyone that has basic health insurance has a standard, obligatory deductible excess of 385 euro (in 2020). This amount is to be paid when medical cost are made by the insurance policy holder.

The deductible excess stacks up during a year and resets at the start of a new year. The health insurer will start to reimburse when the deductible excess is fully paid for. In some cases direct reimbursement is applicable, for example, when consulting a GP, for midwifery, supplemental care and health care for those below eighteen years old.

The deductible excess can be increased with a maximum of 500 euro. This lowers the monthly premium about 15 tot 25 euro depending on the insurance company. However, this also means that the deductible excess is 885 euro instead of 385.

Zorgtoeslag (healthcare benefit)

If your income is lower than 30.481 euro per year you may be eligible for a healthcare benefit for the health insurance premium. This is called 'zorgtoeslag' in Dutch.

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