National health insurance

Everyone who works and pays income tax in the Netherlands is obliged to take out a basic level of zorgverzekering (national health insurance) within the first four months of arrival, regardless of whether they have existing health insurance from another country. The legislation for this law is set out in the Zorgverzekeringswet  (Dutch Health Insurance Act). National health insurance is free for children up to 18 years of age, however they also have to have their own policy.

This national health insurance is not to be compared to private health insurance, such as found in Australia, the UK or the US. National health insurance in the Netherlands provides access to state provided medical care; it can be viewed as indirect taxation, as opposed to privately-funded health care.

Dutch insurance providers are legally obliged to accept every applicant, irrespective of their medical history or requirements.

The national health insurance policy can be expanded to cover additional/chronic needs: it is important to check out what is available and what particular requirements might be. One way to compare the various types of policies on offer is to use a comparison website such as Independer or Zorgkiezer.

Businesses and organisations often provide collective health insurance for their employees; however these policies can be more expensive and may not suit specific medical requirements.

National health insurance providers can only be changed once a year. A letter will be sent by the current provider in November each year to confirm the policy details for the following year. If moving to another provider, the current provider needs to be informed before 1 January and a new provider must be confirmed by 1 February or a fine may be imposed.

There are a number of situations where residents and employees are exempt, this is due to the purpose and duration of stay in the Netherlands (posted workers, students etc.). These exemptions are covered under the Wet Langdurige Zorg – WLZ (The Long-term Care Act) and are governed by the SVB.

The health care insurance provider will require a BSN in order to complete the registration process for each family member.