Health insurance

Coming to the Netherlands you should be well prepared. Having a proper health insurance is not only strongly recommended, but in some cases even mandatory.

Public healthcare insurance (basisverzekering)
Everyone employed in the Netherlands is obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance (“basisverzekering”) within 4 months after arrival. You can apply for this insurance only after you have registered at the local municipality and have received your social security number (BSN) and your residence permit. Your health insurance will start (retrospectively) from the day you start working. Dutch health insurers are obliged to accept everyone for the basic package; this can be extended with supplementary insurance (subject to acceptance) to suit your personal situation. Please note that you are not insured in the time between arrival and starting work, and should read the following section on private health insurance for ways to bridge this period.

Private health insurance (ziektekostenverzekering)
If you do not qualify for the public healthcare insurance (“basisverzekering”), you need other coverage. This could be an insurance from your home country, but be aware that not all healthcare may be covered (for instance, if you travel outside the Netherlands). Even if you are not employed in the Netherlands, you are advised to take out a private health insurance (“ziektekostenverzekering”). This type of insurance also covers the period from departure and the time needed to complete your application for the “basisverzekering”. The private health insurance can easily be cancelled when your “basisverzekering” is in place.

Before you continue reading, please check the flowchart below to determine which type of insurance you need.

Flowchart 'Which healthcare insurance applies to me?'

I need a “basisverzekering”

The Dutch public healthcare insurance covers the cost of basic medical care. Health insurers also offer supplementary packages to cover the cost of additional healthcare. Public healthcare insurance only covers medical expenses and not personal liability, accidents, repatriation to your home country, home contents or legal assistance, etc. If you would like extra coverage of medical costs e.g. for extensive dental treatment, physiotherapy or anything else, these are the additional areas where insurers compete. You can change your health insurance policy and/or extras once a year with effect from 1 January.

There is a compulsory excess of €375 (“verplicht eigen risico”) for healthcare covered under the public healthcare package. This means that you need to pay the first €375 in medical bills yourself. Bills exceeding this excess will be paid directly via your insurer, depending on your chosen policy. You can choose a higher excess, in which case your monthly premiums will be lower. More information about health insurance (in English and other EU languages) is available from the Ministry of Health’s website and Euraxess.

Leiden University has taken out collective health insurance with Zorg & Zekerheid as a fringe benefit for its employees. This scheme entitles you to a discount on the basic package premium and the supplementary package. Your HR department can also inform you whether you are obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance and give you application forms for Zorg & Zekerheid. Please note that Leiden University cannot assist you when making choices with regard to your medical excess or filling out the application forms. More information on “Zorg & Zekerheid” is available on the university website. You are not obliged to take out your health insurance with Zorg & Zekerheid. On Zorgwijzer, you can compare Dutch health insurance policies in coverage and price.

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a “healthcare benefit” from the Tax & Customs Administration to cover the costs of health insurance. For more information, visit the Dutch Tax Office website or read the information sheet on Benefits.
If you are obliged to take out Dutch public healthcare insurance but do not do so within four months after your employment commencement date, you risk being fined by the National Health Care Institute (NHCI). Please note that these fines are considerable. For more information about the NHCI, visit their website or read the brochure.

I need a “ziektekostenverzekering”

If you do not qualify for public healthcare insurance, you need other adequate (private) insurance. A private insurance covers the cost of medical care. Private insurers will also offer supplementary packages to cover the cost of additional healthcare. You can take out a package that suits your personal situation best. If you took out a private health insurance to cover the period until your “basisverzekering” is in place, you can cancel this “ziektekostenverzekering” at any time.

IPS (Insurance Passport for Students) is an insurance company that provides private health insurance. Even though the name of the insurer refers to “Students”, this insurance is also available for our international guests and can be arranged prior to your departure. You can apply for the package for the entire period of your stay on their website.

The premium for an IPS Primary (including medical costs) is €36.50 per month. You can cancel your policy at any time. If you cancel your insurance part way through the month, any overpaid premium will be reimbursed.

Need help?

If you have any questions about insurance, please contact our partner StudentsInsured:
+31 70 302 85 98

Last Modified: 29-06-2016