Health Insurance in the Netherlands

Updated: Oct 20, 2020


You have until December 31st to change health insurance!


The government decides each year which healthcare services are the minimum for which everyone is obligated to be insured. This is compulsory if living in the Netherlands for longer than 3 months.


zorgverzekering: health insurance

basispakket or basisverzekering: basic plan or basic insurance

aanvullende verzekering: additional insurance


If you want/need more than just the basics covered, you can get an additional insurance plan. The most expensive package is not always best for you. First, do the math on what a treatment would cost if you’d pay yourself and how much extra insurance you’d pay a month for covering that treatment.


Most procedures for kids are covered for free through the basic plan. Make sure kids are added to the parent with the best insurance plan. Kids don’t pay for most medical treatments, but are not automatically added to the parent with the best plan. It is not necessarily cheaper to have the same plan as your partner or even to be with the same insurance company, depending on your personal situation and health. Dental health is a separate insurance, which might be interesting to check out on time, if you think your child might need braces. Often there is an insurance waiting period of 1 or 2 years for braces.


verzekering afsluiten: contract an insurance

vergelijken: to compare

kiezen: to choose

tandartsverzekeringdental insurance

eigen risico(‘own risk’) for certain services, like ambulance, hospital care, etc., the insurance company doesn’t cover costs, until you have reached the maximum amount of your ‘own risk’. Visits to the GP are fully covered.

vrijwillig eigen risicovoluntarily added ‘own risk’. Some people decide to up the amount they have to first pay themselves before coverage kicks in, because they then pay less for insurance each month. It is wise to have that amount reserved on your bank account, in case something happens. So if you choose a ‘voluntary own risk’ of 800 euro, make sure you have that amount put aside.

zorgtoeslag: the amount the Dutch tax office puts on your bank account each month to help you pay for your health insurance, if you earn less than a certain amount a year. You can apply for zorgtoeslag through the website of the tax office, using your Digid (official digital signature): www.belastingdienst.nl

Huisartsenpost: When your GP’s office is closed and you have a health issue that cannot wait until the next morning or until Monday, you have to call the ‘huisartsenpost’. This is the GP backup for nights and weekends. They will help you, or refer you to a hospital if necessary. The emergency room at the hospital (Spoedeisende Hulp) is only for emergencies, not for a painful throat, regular fever, or a splinter in your finger, in which case you will be charged extra.

(verzekerings)premie: the amount you pay per month

dekking: coverage

collectiviteitskorting: a collective discount, through your employer or an organisation of which you are a member

zorgverzekeraar: health insurance company

zorgverlener: health care provider

vrije artsenkeuzeyou are free to choose your own health care provider. Usually your insurance fee is a little higher when you choose this option.

keuzevrijheid: freedom to choose

naturapolisinsurance plan that directly pays the health care provider. Usually they have a list of health care providers they have under contract.

resitutiepolis: insurance plan that reimburses you (part of) your expenses after you declared them.

zorgpakket: health care plan, depending on the plan you choose, more or less care is covered

huidig: current

voorwaarden: conditions


The Dutch health care system is built for assertive people. You have to be specific about what is going on, what your worries are, and what you expect from the doctor. They will not always give what you want, but the more clear and verbal (and friendly) you are, the better they will know how to help you.


Good luck choosing the best option for you! And if you feel overwhelmed by all the options, don’t feel bad, everybody does, even the native speakers…

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