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Health insurance for foreign students in The Netherlands
Health insurance for foreign students in The Netherlands
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Health insurance for foreign students in the Netherlands

Dutch health insurance for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

Health insurance in the Netherlands is obligatory for all residents of the country according to the Health Insurance Act. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, your home country insurance might cover your standard and emergency health expenses while studying abroad. What you need to do beforehand is to arrange your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For additional coverage, you can always visit any Dutch insurance company office and get your Dutch public healthcare insurance (zorgverzekering).

In the Netherlands, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to the Dutch health care system and you will be treated as the locals. However, you may have to pay upfront and claim the money back later. Also, keep in mind that you will be reimbursed only for necessary treatment and medication.

Important Tip: If you study and work part-time or you do an internship in the Netherlands, you are obliged to pay an insurance fee to the Dutch government. You will receive a letter in Dutch from the ”Zorginstituut Nederland”, which will inform you about the mandatory Dutch Basic Healthcare Insurance.

Dutch health insurance for non-EU/EEA/Swiss citizens

If you come from countries outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland, you will have up to 4 months to arrange your health insurance. Some students - depending on their origin, personal circumstances or illnesses - will have to take out private insurance.

The Netherlands have an agreement with some non-EU countries concerning the reimbursement of medical expenses. Students from Australia (only for a stay of less than one year), Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Croatia, Macedonia, Morocco, Montenegro, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Switzerland will be able to take advantage of the treaty.

Tip: Before you apply for health insurance, you will need to arrange your residence permit up to 3 months after you will have arrived in the Netherlands.

How to enroll for health insurance in the Netherlands

You will need to acquire a social security number (‘burgerservicenummer’ or BSN) before you can take out health insurance and healthcare benefit.

If you do not possess a BSN number, you can also provide proof of enrolment, which is accepted as temporary proof for international students only. 

The next step is to choose an insurer in the Netherlands; there are more than 150 companies. You can check the big health insurance companies and read some short resumes about them. On average, the cost for health insurance is €100 per month – you can have an overview of the offers and compare them here or here.

Coverage of your basic and supplementary health insurance in the Netherlands

Aside from emergencies, your basic health insurance will cover the following:

Basic medical care, including care provided by general practitioners, medical specialists and obstetricians

  • Hospital treatment
  • Maternity care
  • Limited therapies such as physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy and dietary advice
  • Medical devices
  • Medical products

Supplementary healthcare insurance in the Netherlands covers more than basic mandatory insurance:

  • Dental care for adults
  • Physiotherapy
  • Glasses and contact lenses
  • Homeopathic or other alternative medical products

Students can also take out private health insurance with additional coverage (aanvullende pakket). We advise that you read everything about each individual package in order to choose the most suitable one for your needs.

Very important tips about your Dutch health insurance

  • You must be registered with a municipality before you can take out health insurance.
  • You can also apply for healthcare benefit via belastingdienst.nl.
  • Cancel your insurance when you leave the Netherlands and deregister from the municipality to avoid incorrect fines.
  • You need to take out public Dutch health insurance if you stay after your studies.
  • If you receive a letter from CAK (oorspronkelijk een afkorting van Centraal Administratie Kantoor – is the organization responsible for determining and collecting the personal contributions under the Long-term care act Wlz) act fast. You have 3 months to take action or you will receive a fine of approximately €380. Firstly, you need to contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB) to ask for an investigation of your insurance situation under the Wlz scheme (free of charge). And secondly, you need to send a copy of the decision from the SVB about your insurance situation to the CAK.

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