Frequently Asked Questions about Dutch Health Insurance for Expats

It is very important to have dutch health insurance (Dutch: Zorgverzekering) for all the residents in the Netherlands. For foreigners, it is difficult to understand and choose the dutch health insurance policy. This article shares everything you need to know about Dutch health insurance and how to choose the best one for yourself.

Disclaimer: I’ve lived in the Netherlands for nearly 10 years and paid a lot for it. This post is based on my personal experience and verified information online. I am not an expert. Therefore, the information is for your reference only; please choose the insurance company based on your circumstances.

More post: Checklist for moving to Amsterdam/The Netherlands for work and study

Dutch healthcare system

The Dutch healthcare system requires every resident to register with one family doctor (in Dutch: Huisarts). If you need medical help, your family doctor is the first contact of any medical service unless it is an emergency.

They have an after-service line if it’s outside of your family doctor’s office hours. You can still get medical services when needed.

Why do we need Dutch Health Insurance?

In Dutch, “Zorgverzekering” means dutch health insurance. Once you move to the Netherlands, I suggest you have basic health insurance. The medical cost is very high in the Netherlands. Without insurance, you need to pay a lot of money.

Who needs to insure Health Insurance?

Based on local law, every resident in the Netherlands should have Dutch Health Insurance.

If you are over 18 years old, you must be insured by one of the health insurance companies. If you have kids, your kids are also insured; no need to pay extra for having kids.

What if I am an international student

If you are an international student without a part-time job or internship, you are not obligated to have basic health insurance. Instead, you can insure international students’ basic health insurance if you need medical support while studying in the Netherlands.

Big insurance companies offer student insurance; I had AON student insurance when I was a student. Student insurance is much cheaper than basic health insurance.

What is the best time to insure?

You must be insured during the whole period of your residence permits.

What would happen if I was not insured?

The residence permit validity is between 2023/1/1-2023/6/30, but you apply for the insurance from March (2023/3/1). What will happen?

If the insurance company knows you are not insured in January and February 2023 after checking the system, they have the right to ask you to insure from 2023/1/1).

Penalty for not being insured for Basic Health Insurance

If you are not insured for more than four months, you will get a warning by post from CAK “reminding” you to insure basic insurance within three months.

CAK will give you a fine if you still have no basic health insurance after three months. Afterward, if you are still not insured, they can deduct the basic health insurance fee from your salary by legal enforcement.

Note: CAK is part of VWS (Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport). They ensure all the residents in the Netherlands are covered by basic health insurance.

Important things to know about Dutch health insurance

When can I change my basic health insurance policy/company?

Once you are insured, you cannot switch to other companies or change the coverage for the current year. You can only change the basic health insurance coverage or insurance company in December and January of next year.

For example, it’s July 2023, and you realize that you want to lower your own risk as you expect to have more medical services, but you cannot change it anymore for the year 2023. However, you can lower your own risk in December 2023 for your insurance in 2024.

December and January are the only months you can change your health insurance coverage.

Shall I choose the cheapest insurance premium for my basic health insurance?

All insurance companies should cover the basic health service in their basic health insurance policy. Many people would think: then I can just choose the cheapest one. Is that a good idea?

Not really. More than 30 insurance companies offer basic health insurance, and it is always better to choose one after comparing them. (I will show you the tips later in this post)

Health insurance companies need to differentiate themselves from the market; therefore, they will have extra coverage in the policy to attract more clients. It is always best to compare carefully to get the benefits when needed.

In addition, the cheaper basic insurance policies would have 100% coverage for the hospitals they have an agreement with. In an emergency, the ambulance would only send you to the nearest hospital, not the ones with the agreement.

I have no time. Can you tell me the top 4 health insurance companies in the Netherlands?

They are: Zuiveren Kruis, CZ, VGZ and Menzis. Some people choose one of the four companies for their basic health insurance.

How do I choose the best basic health insurance for myself?

The tool that every dutch people use

Independer is the most popular website for dutch people to choose basic health insurance. They are objective and compare each insurance policy in detail after setting up your personal preference and condition online.



Note: The website is only in Dutch. You can use Google Chrome for the translation service.

Tutorial for using Independer

Step #1

Fill in your personal data (date of birth, gender) and postcode.

Step #2

They will list down the premium for basic health insurance when the own risk is EUR 385.

In this step, it is important to understand the meaning of “Own Risk (Dutch: Eigen Risico)”.

The own risks range between EUR 385 to EUR 885. The higher the own risk, the lower the premium.

For example, if you have EUR 885 as your own risk and paid EUR 100 for a blood test. If you need another test, it costs EUR 1,000. Then you only have to pay an additional EUR 785 since your own risk is EUR 885. The health insurance company will cover the costs of more than EUR 885.

If you believe you are healthy and don’t need much medical service, most people have the highest own risk.

Next, you need to choose your add-ons for your insurance. Please note that you cannot change it during the year, so think twice before you insure.

  • Dentist (highly recommend)
  • Physio
  • Pregnancy

A dentist add-on is the most common; most people would have it. In the example below, I have 75% vergoeding tot EUR 250 per jaar, which means the insurance company will cover 75% of your dentist bill but up to EUR 250 per year. If it’s more than EUR 250, you need to pay it from your pocket.

Step #3

Now the system lists all the insurance company packages that meet your needs in detail. You can check one by one to see if it suits you.

How can I save money on basic health insurance?

I would suggest choosing your basic health insurance based on your circumstances. However, here are a few ways you can save some money on insurance premiums:

Use your employee benefits

Suppose you work for an organized company, and there is a high chance that your company has an agreement with the health insurance company for some discount as employee benefits. Check with your company’s human resources team first.

Pay it at once

You get an extra discount if you pay the yearly premium all at once.

Join as a new client

Some insurance companies offer extra discounts for new clients, and you can change your insurance company every year to get the discount.

If you utilize the employee discount and pay the premium at one, you can save some money!

Conclusion

I hope this post help! Please comment on this post if you have questions about basic Dutch health insurance; I would love to help!