Your health and the health of your family members…about the most important thing there is. But how does it work? Do you need to be privately insured or is the government taking care of it? What is covered and what not? Do you need to insure your children as well? In this blog I will give you a brief introduction the Dutch Health Care System.
As a rule, everyone who lives and works in the Netherlands is obliged to have at least a basic health insurance package. The Dutch government is responsible for the accessibility and quality of the healthcare in the Netherlands which is a combination of private health plans with social conditions built on the principles of solidarity, efficiency and value for the patient.
However, the government is not in charge of its management which is done by private health insurance companies.
- The Dutch government determines what is included in the Basic Health Insurance package. Roughly it includes general medical care, hospital stays, some dental care, medicine prescriptions, patient transport, some paramedical care, pre and post-natal care and rehab services.
- By law Dutch insurance companies are obliged to offer you the basic package, however costs may vary. They cannot deny coverage because of gender, age or health profile. Children below 18 years old are insured for free and are, in general, included in their parents’ insurance policy.
- On top of the premium for the basic health insurance the government also sets a compulsory excess which changes annually. Furthermore you also pay an income-related contribution to the government (Zorgverzekeringswet or Health Insurance Law). If you work for an employer this contribution will be deducted from your salary straight away. However, if you have a low income you can apply for care allowance.
- Every medical or dental treatment the government considers to be your own responsibility can be covered by a supplementary insurance. This covers more extensive medical care, dental care, physiotherapy etc. and is also provided by private health insurance companies.
- You are free to choose your own health insurance company and are allowed to change companies once per year. It is in these additional areas where companies compete. Premiums depend on how extensive you want your additional package to be. There is a lot of variety between the many competing companies.
- It is possible to purchase the supplementary insurance from a different insurance company. This may lower your overall costs but can complicate things when processing bills. It is definitely worth shopping around but unfortunately the two reliable comparison websites are only in Dutch (www.kiesbeter.nl and www.independer.nl).
- I addition to the compulsory excess you can also opt to increase this excess. This could be a good solution to lower your monthly insurance premiums, unless you or your family members need specialist treatment or if you do not have savings to cover unexpected costs.
Are you confused? Do you have any questions? Or do you have any experiences with the Dutch Health Insurance System yourself? Please write them down in the comment field below. I am sure other people will be benefit from your experiences if you share them here.
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