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Health insurance

Health care insurance is mandatory for all residents in the Netherlands that are subject to Dutch social security law.


The life expectancy of the average Dutch citizen is among the highest in the world. One of the main reasons is the well-organised healthcare in this country.

In the Netherlands, health care is part of its social security system. Therefore, health care insurance is mandatory for all residents in the Netherlands that are subject to Dutch social security law.

Am I subject to the social security law? 

When you or your partner work in the Netherlands and pay taxes, you are subject to the social security law. This might differ when you work temporarily in the Netherlands, or when you are student or PHD candidate. Read about the exemptions here. Check the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank if you believe you might be exempted from the healthcare insurance duty.

How do I enclose a policy? 

There are many websites that will help you choose the right type of insurance for your stage in life such as Zorgwijzer. On some occasions your employer will offer you insurance at a reduced rate. Please make sure you have a policy, as you can be fined if you are not properly insured and you have to pay . Organising your insurance only takes a few minutes and you can also set up a monthly direct payment from your bank account. Note that you need a BSN to register for insurance.

The health care insurance companies are private, but are fully bound to Dutch health legislation. They have to accept you for the standard package, regardless of your age, health or unhealthy habits. Insurance companies are not obligated to accept clients who want to have an additional insurance. The insurance company can request to fill out a list of medical questions or to participate in a medical examination before accepting you in the additional insurance.

Do I have to ensure my children? 

Yes you have, but you don’t have to pay for them until their 18. You can put your children (or other legal dependants) under the age of 18 on your policy when you are arranging it, and if you take out a family policy, you can put your partner on the same insurance policy. Please note that if you’re children are over the age of 18, they have to be insured on their own. You can still keep them on your policy, but from that age, a premium is required. Your child could also choose to take out another insurance policy than yours at this time.

What costs are covered? 

When you choose the basic health insurance package, you will be insured for care by general practitioners and specialists, medicines, hospital care, dental care up to the age of 18. Next to the basic package, you can take out specific packages, this will insure you for extra costs that are not covered by your basic health insurance. For example, a lot of students take out a youth or student package for around 20 euros per month, which covers dentists and physiotherapist costs, contraception and vaccinations are also covered also up to 30 years old.

Excess payments (own risk) 

In the Netherlands, everyone insured person over 18 has a compulsory payment excess of € 385 per year. This excess is the amount you have to pay yourself if you need care. The minimum is € 385  but you can pay more (as in the limit is raised) if you pay less of a premium. Once you go over your insurances excess, the insurance starts paying for your care. First appointments such as general practitioners, are excluded from this type of excess, but prescriptions are included.

Sometimes it might be a bit vague whether the visit is subject of this excess or not. For example: if you go to the family doctor, this visit will be insured by the insurance company. If that doctor decides to send a blood sample to the hospital, this blood test will be subject to you excess. Please ask your healthcare provider if you’re not sure whether the costs will fall under your excess, to avoid the surprise of an unexpected bill.

What types of policies can I choose?

You can choose from two types of policies: the first one is a naturapolis, which is a policy that will only let you go to health care providers selected by your insurer. Bills from these providers will be paid directly by the insurer. The other choice is a resitutiepolis, which means you have to pay the bill yourself, but your insurer will refund when you submit your claim. The naturapolis is standard, and cheaper than the resitutiepolis. If you take out a naturapolis, please make sure health care provider you wish to attend is under contract with your insurer.

The costs

The types of health care covered by the basic health insurance package is the same for every health insurance provider, but the premium may vary. This depends on whether you choose a higher own risk, service and if you choose for a bounded list of hospitals in a naturapolis. The premium for a base package with an excess of 385 euro per year, is about 95 euro per month.


The Dutch government may offer healthcare allowance (“zorgtoeslag”), which depends entirely on your income. Put simply, the less you earn the higher your allowance will be. The conditions for this benefit are listed here. Contact the allowance tax administration if you need more details on this matter.