Question: I will soon move to the Netherlands /I have recently moved to the Netherlands and want to know what I have to do with health insurance. Am I obliged to get one?
There is just one health insurance system in the Netherlands, called the Zorgverzekeringswet (ZVW).This system makes it mandatory for everyone to have at least a base level of insurance (basisverzekering).
You must take out insurance with a Dutch insurer within four months of arrival even if you already have an existing policy that gives you cover in the Netherlands. Anyone who fails to comply with this will be fined and will have to pay all medical expenses for himself/herself. Children under 18 are included in their parents' insurance. Health insurance companies have an obligation to accept everyone for the standard package, irrespective of gender, age and health. This standard package generally covers hospital care at Class III, medication, rehabilitation, medical care by specialists, GPs and midwives, dental help for persons younger than 18 years old, therapists, such as speech therapists and dieticians, mental health care, maternity care and necessary medical help during a holiday or business trip abroad, worldwide.
If you have an international health insurance, please check if this insurance is accepted in the Netherlands, by calling the College for Health Insurances (College voor Zorgverzekeringen): tel. (020) 7978555.
The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has detailed information regarding healthcare in the Netherlands. This is a Dutch website but it has a downloadable brochure on health insurance obligation in English which can be found here.
The Trade Association of Health Insurance Providers have good information about health insurance in the Netherlands that you may find useful. The following websites are also worth checking: www.kiesbeter.nl (choose 'better') and www.independer.nl. These may be able to help you compare health insurance (zorgverzekeringen) providers.
Please note that most of the above given websites are in Dutch, but you can read it in English by using Google Translate. It will not always give a perfect translation, but it will give you an idea what the text is about.
ACCESS has comprehensive guides covering frequently encountered issues by members of the international community in the Netherlands and we have one in particular about Health Care in the Netherlands. You may download the ACCESS Guide from here.