National health insurance
Everyone who works and is Social insured in the Netherlands is obliged to take out a basic level of zorgverzekering (national health insurance) within the first 4 months of arrival, regardless of whether they have existing health insurance from another country. The legislation for this law is set out in the Wet Langdurige Zorg (Long-term Care Act) and the Zorgverzekeringswet (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.
Dutch insurance providers are legally obliged to accept every applicant, irrespective of their medical history or requirements. An employee pays a monthly premium. If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for the healthcare allowance. You can find more information on the Rijksoverheid's website government.nl which provides information in English for not-yet Dutch speakers.
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 (Long-term Care Act) and are governed by the Sociale Verzekerings Bank – SVB (social insurance bank).
The healthcare insurance provider will require a Burgerservicenummer – BSN (citizen service number) in order to complete the registration process for each family member.