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How does the Dutch health insurance work?
In the Netherlands, the government is mostly responsible for the accessibility and quality of the Dutch healthcare system. Therefore, the Dutch government determines the coverage of basic health insurances every year. Since the Dutch health insurance market is a free market, you can choose your own insurance provider. Whatever fits you the best!
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Every year, the government determines the coverage of the basic health insurances. The basic health insurance covers most of the basic medical expenses. It includes:
The additional health insurance is not mandatory in the Netherlands. However, it can be very useful if you need for example extra physiotherapy or alternative healthcare. If you know what medical care you might need in the coming year, it can be wise to choose a supplemental health insurance.
When you have a Dutch insurance, an own risk applies (also known as 'eigen risico' in Dutch). The own risk means that there is a maximum amount of costs you have to pay per year for (basic) healthcare that you use that year. In 2024 the 'eigen risico' is set at € 385,- per year.
You'll only pay 'eigen risico' if you need healthcare from the basic insurance. You don't have to pay it in advance. The 'eigen risico' is mandatory for everyone with a Dutch basic health insurance. It doesn't apply to the supplemental or dental health insurances.
A dental insurance is very commonly chosen in the Netherlands. This is because dental care for adults is not covered in the basic health insurance. By choosing a dental insurance, you are covering certain dentist costs. How much depends on which dental insurance you choose.
"A Dutch health insurance is mandatory for everyone over the age of 18, including your children. As soon as your child turns 18, your child must have its own health insurance in the Netherlands. Until then your child is co-insured."
Nienke Wuits - Expert in health insurances
Yes, it is mandatory to take out at least a basic health insurance. You can add supplementary health insurances of your own choice. Only in specific cases you're allowed to not have a Dutch health insurance (yet). In example:
You can choose a Dutch health insurance every year from November 12th till December 31st. You can apply changes on your health insurance from November 12th till January 31st.
Do you want to change your Dutch health insurance after the 31st of January? You can switch your health insurance halfway through the year in the following situations:
When you have a Dutch health insurance, you may be eligible for healthcare benefits. The healthcare benefits ('zorgtoeslag' in Dutch) is a contribution paid by the government. How much you might receive, depends on your income. Visit the website of the Belastingdienst (Dutch Tax Administration) to calculate whether you are eligible for healthcare benefits.
If you are obligated to have a health insurance in the Netherlands, but did not apply for one, then you will receive a letter from the Centraal Administratie Kantoor (CAK), reminding you to apply for the mandatory basic health insurance. If you do not apply for a health insurance within four months of your arrival, you will be ordered to pay a fine.