In the Netherlands, everyone is required to have health insurance, including international students and expats. Dutch health insurance is based on a social healthcare system, where everyone contributes to the costs of healthcare and where the government ensures that all citizens have access to basic healthcare services.
Health insurance is provided by private insurance companies, and there are several options available, such as basic insurance and supplementary insurance. Basic insurance covers essential healthcare services, while supplementary insurance covers additional services such as dental care, physiotherapy, and alternative therapies. Basic insurance is mandatory but supplementary insurance is voluntary.
The government regulates the insurance companies to ensure that they provide high-quality services at reasonable prices. Everyone is required to pay a monthly premium for their health insurance, but you’re free to choose your insurance company. Those who cannot afford to pay the premium receive a subsidy from the government to cover the costs.
Basic insurance coverage
Dutch health insurance provides coverage for basic healthcare services, such as visits to the general practitioner (GP), hospital care, specialist treatments, prescription medication, and maternity care. The coverage is the same for all insurance providers, and the government sets the minimum coverage requirements.
Certain services are not covered under the basic insurance package. For these services, such as dental care, physiotherapy, or alternative medicine, you can add supplementary insurance to your basic coverage. This comes at an extra cost and is mostly useful if you expect to use these services.
There are many insurance providers in the Netherlands, and you can choose the one that suits your needs. The insurance providers offer different levels of coverage and premiums. You can compare insurance providers and their policies on websites such as Zorgwijzer or Independer.
It’s important to note that you can only change your insurance provider once a year in December.
The cost of health insurance in the Netherlands is based on a monthly premium, which you pay to your insurance provider. The premium is based on your basic insurance coverage and any supplementary insurance coverage in case you decided to add this. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for healthcare allowance from the government to help cover the costs of your health insurance.
Dutch health insurance has a mandatory deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket for healthcare services before your insurance coverage kicks in. In Dutch this is called ‘eigen risico’. In 2023, the mandatory deductible is €385 per year. Some insurance providers offer a higher voluntary deductible, which can lower your monthly premium. It’s also possible to pay this deductible in installments and add it to your monthly premium. If you haven’t used your deductible by the end of the year, the insurance provider will pay you back this money.
Insurance and dental care in the Netherlands
Dental care for children up to 18 years old in the Netherlands is free, regardless of their type of insurance. For adults, dental care is not included in their basic coverage. Some people therefore pay out of pocket when they visit the dentist, or they might have supplementary insurance.
Since dental care might be expensive, depending on whether or not patients have a supplementary insurance, it’s therefore advisable to always discuss the costs of a treatment plan with your patient. For treatments that exceed the amount of €250,-, it’s also mandatory to provide your patient with a quotation of the expected costs.