Expat health insurance

Expats that are living and/or working in the Netherlands are usually required to take out Dutch health insurance to cover the costs of healthcare.

Some expats or emigrants will not be eligible for Dutch insurance, for example because they pay taxes in outside The Netherlands. They may need an expat health insurance.

When am I eligible for Dutch health insurance?

Whether you are eligible for Dutch health insurance depends on your personal situation.

We will discuss four situations:

  1. Expats from inside the EU/EEA
  2. Expats from outside the EU/EEA
  3. Family members
  4. Students

1. Expats from the EU/EEA

If you are from the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (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

And/or:

  • You are 30 years or older and your stay in The Netherlands is not temporary

In other cases you will likely not be able to take out Dutch health insurance. However, you could choose an expat insurance to cover medical care in The Netherlands.

2. Expats from outside the EU/EEA

If you are not from the EU/EEA you are eligible for a Dutch health insurance if you have a permanent Dutch residence permit.

You must take out Dutch health insurance within four months of your permanent residence permit coming into force.

Dutch Government (Rijksoverheid)

You are not qualified for Dutch health insurance if:

  • You are here for study purposes only
  • You are working for an employer outside The Netherlands
  • You are paying income tax in another country
  • If you are waiting for a permanent residence permit

If you are not eligible for Dutch health insurance, you could take out expat health insurance.

Flowchart: Dutch health insurance for expats

Expat health insurance flowchart

3. Family members

If you are required to take out health insurance in The Netherlands, your family members - that live with you - must usually also obtain a Dutch medical insurance.

The exception for this rule is when a family member works outside The Netherlands. In this case they won't qualify for the Dutch insurance scheme.

In case you work in The Netherlands but your family lives abroad (with you), your family can sometimes be co-insured with you. This depends on your situation and the home country regulations.

Follow these steps: 

If you are an expat and 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. You 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. You 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.

4. Students

There are special rules for students that are in The Netherlands for study purposes only and do not have a (part-time) job. They do not have to take out Dutch health insurance.

Check our guide for information about mandatory health insurance for students

How do I find out if I am eligible for Dutch health insurance?

Do you have any doubts about your insurance status and want to make sure if your need Dutch health insurance?

Expats can also do an assessment with the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) to find out whether you are insured under the Dutch Wlz (Wet langdurige zorg) scheme and must take Dutch health insurance.

What does the Dutch health insurance cover?

The basic Dutch health insurance covers essential medical care in The Netherlands, 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.

Optionally, supplemental insurance, such as coverage for dental care and physiotherapy and orthodontics, is available at a higher monthly premium.

International coverage

The Dutch health insurance only covers urgent medical care abroad. As an expat you could therefore opt for international expat health insurance that also cover you in other countries world-wide.

Several insurance companies offer an international cover or cover in a specific country for non-urgent medical care.

How much does a Dutch health insurance cost?

The average basic Dutch health insurance premium in 2021 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 (7,00 percent in 2021) with a maximum income of around 55.000 euro.

Employers, freelancers and people with their own company pay 5,75 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 2021). 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.

How do I choose a Dutch health insurance?

When comparing and choosing a health insurance as an expat, it is recommended to study the following things carefully:

  • Premium
  • Reviews
  • Coverage and policy terms and conditions
  • Health choice

Zorgwijzer offers comparisons in different languages:

Need help?

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

Or contact us by email or phone:

  • +31 (0) 10 34 000 20
  • helpdesk@zorgwijzer.nl

Am I eligible for a healthcare allowance?

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.

Maximum allowances in 2021:

  • For singles: € 107 per month
  • For families/partners: € 207 per month

How does the Dutch healthcare 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.

Medication

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

Information about the reimbursement of medication can be found on Medicijnkosten.nl (in Dutch).

Hospitals

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.

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.

 NaturapolisRestitutiepolisBudgetpolis
PremiumLow to averageAverage to highLow
Health choiceBroad Free Limited
Reimbursement for providers outside insurer network70 - 80 percentUp to 100 percent50 - 80 percent

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

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