Guide to Health Insurance in the Netherlands

Whether you’re relocating to the Netherlands or just looking for a new international health insurance provider, it’s essential to be aware of the healthcare and insurance provision available there.

The population of the Netherlands is over 16.5 million, and the figures for life expectancy at birth show 77 years for males and 82 years for females. The state of the Dutch healthcare system is more complicated than the public and private systems provided by other EU countries, though it is based on a system of mandatory health insurance payment, not dissimilar to the US.

The Dutch enjoy a very good standard of healthcare, which is reflected by the World Health Organisation’s 2000 report which placed the Dutch healthcare system at 17th. This puts the country behind many other EU nations, but it is important to state that major health reforms have occurred since this report.

Healthcare facilities

The Netherland’s ageing population and its high life expectancy represents the quality of its private healthcare system, which operates in two separate tiers. The first tier is a base level of insurance which covers all general hospital curative care and clinical services, paid through mandatory insurance and from taxes. Social insurance taxes provide second tier long-term care, for example, the care of terminal patients.

In 2006, major reforms were introduced, which eliminated the need for risk assessments in providing health insurance, with the aim of making the system more affordable and more fair for Dutch citizens. Public and patient polls and statistics reveal that these reforms have had a very positive impact. 

Dutch health insurance companies are now not allowed to refuse you cover due to your age or health condition, and if you earn below a certain minimum amount, then you can qualify for healthcare allowances.

If you are only travelling to the Netherlands and you are European, then your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides you access to emergency treatment, but it is very important that you take out travel insurance to cover the costs. For relocation, you are obliged to take out at least a base insurance package with a Dutch provider within 4 months of your arrival.

The Netherlands prescribe the use of a family doctor who is intended to be situated within close proximity, and it is important to sign up for one as soon as possible upon arrival. This is because surgical and curative costs are only covered by your insurance if you are referred by the family doctor. 

Dutch dentists are in high demand, and many practices are completely full and unable to take on new patients.

Before you go

There are no special medications or vaccinations required for travel to the Netherlands.

Next steps

You can receive a quote for one of our WorldCare plans to cover your time in the Netherlands, with treatment access available from anywhere in the world. Purchase and management of your plan can be done online – it’s an easy and quick way to get instant comprehensive cover.

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