Healthcare: health insurance in the Netherlands

A health insurance is mandatory for everybody that works and/or lives in the Netherlands. That way the Dutch keep their national healthcare system affordable and accessible for everyone.

Health insurance Netherlands

All Dutch residents contribute to the healthcare system by paying a monthly premium to their health insurance company. This is important because healthcare costs are usually very high. By having a good insurance you'll avoid the risk of ending up with overwhelming bills which you can’t afford.

Within the Dutch healthcare system all patients pay their fair share. The more medical expenses you have, the more you'll have to contribute yourself. Your insurance company covers most of the basic medical expenses. For specific healthcare you might need additional insurances.

Dutch health insurance

VGZ UC logo

Health insurance costs

Annually the Dutch government decides what medical care is covered in the basic healthcare plans on the third Tuesday of September (Prinsjesdag). When the health insurance companies know what costs they need to cover by law, it’s time for them to determine their prices for the monthly premium. This happens before 12th of November at the latest.

Because the Dutch healthcare system is based on a free market principle, there are several different companies that offer health insurance plans. For that reason the prices and coverage can differ and it is advisable to compare several insurances which fit your situation. Elderly people obviously don't need the same care as an 18-year old.

By comparing insurances and prices you'll find the most cost-efficient health insurance with the best coverage. If you need any advice on what kind of health insurance fits your situation we highly advice to contact our service desk. Our trained healthcare experts are happy to help you out with any question.

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Basic and additional health insurance

The Dutch health insurance consists of a mandatory basic health insurance and different additional supplementary insurances. The basic health insurance covers basic medical care like hospital treatment, maternity care and most medical products.

  • Midwifery
  • Mental care
  • Hospital visits
  • Medication (prescribed medicines only)
  • Certain medical aids and health programs
  • Basic dental care (under the age of eighteen)
  • Visits and treatments by a General Practitioner (GP)
  • Hospital treatments and consultations with a specialist
  • Emergency medical care abroad up to the Dutch tariffs
  • Physiotherapy for people with chronic diseases/conditions

Additional insurance coverage

Every year the Dutch government decides what medical care is covered within the basic health insurance and what should be covered with an additional health insurance. The additional insurance covers, for example, extra treatments and therapy. People who know in advance what medical care they might need in the coming year pay their extra share by having a additional insurance.

For example: you'll be travelling to an exotic destination soon. The Dutch government decided that travel vaccinations are not included in the basic healthcare insurance. In that case you can claim it on your supplementary additional insurance. For the most up-to-date coverage check your (additional) health insurance policy.

Dental insurance

One of the most used additional insurance is the dental care insurance. With this plan you get pretty much all of your dentist visits reimbursed by your insurance company. What specific costs a dental insurance will cover depends on the policy you choose. The more you expect to claim, the higher your monthly premium will be.

It's not always wise to choose a dental insurance. Dutch dentists advise to pay them a visit for a yearly (or half yearly) check up once or twice a year. Do you take good care of your teeth and are you barely bothered by cavities or other complaints? In most cases it’s cheaper to pay for the dental check ups yourself, rather than pay 12 monthly premiums for a dental insurance you barely use.

Expat health insurance Netherlands

If you work and live in the Netherlands you are required to have a mandatory basic health insurance plan. Expats from within or outside of the EU also need a Dutch health insurance. Make sure you own an insurance at least within 4 months after your Dutch residence permit commences.

Student health Insurance

Studying abroad in the Netherlands for a while? You do not need to have a Dutch health insurance as long as you don’t work in the Netherlands. In case you have a paid internship during your study it’s important to check your insurance situation at the SVB. In case you are sick or have complaints just look for a General Practitioner in your area. In case of an emergency call 112 for an ambulance.

Healthcare benefit

When you have a Dutch healthcare insurance, you may be eligible for a healthcare benefit. The healthcare benefit (zorgtoeslag in Dutch) is a contribution by the government and depends on your income. Visit the website of the Dutch Tax Administration (Belastingdienst) to calculate whether you qualify for receiving a healthcare benefit.

What happens if I’m uninsured?

If you are not insured, you will receive a letter from the Central Administration Office (CAK: Centraal Administratie Kantoor), reminding you to apply for mandatory health insurance. If you do not enroll for a health insurance within four months of your arrival, you will be ordered to pay a fine.

Discount on your health insurance

With UnitedConsumers, you will receive up to 5% discount on the mandatory health insurance from one of the more popular insurance companies in the Netherlands: VGZ. If you have any questions about our health insurance, please contact us at or call 040 – 255 81 11. One of our advisors will answer your call immediately or your e-mail within 1 working day.