When you move to a new country, there are naturally many questions. When it comes to finding a house, settling in, etc., there are dozens of subjects to learn about. The healthcare system is one of the biggest question marks when moving to a new country. Especially if there is a child, the level of anxiety increases even more. In this article, we will try to talk about all the information you need to know about the Dutch healthcare system.
According to the Dutch government, anyone considered to be a resident of the Netherlands is required to have a health insurance. Until the age of 18, the state pays for it, and the requirements for international student status are slightly different.
Dutch Health System in General
The healthcare system is divided into three main branches:
Chronic diseases and long-term treatments : Since the treatment process is longer than normal in cases such as cancer and stroke, your addressee is the institution that provides this service directly. For example, if you need equipment such as a cane or walker permanently, all of these must be covered by your health insurance.
Short-term treatments, simple diseases: In fact, this is the point where you will do almost 95% of the transactions related to the health system. Your GP is the first person you go to when you have a problem. If you need to be treated in a specialty, you can go to a hospital or a specialist doctor with his or her guidance.
Supportive treatments (such as dental, physiotherapy): In the Netherlands, treatments such as dental and physiotherapy are completely transferred to the private sector and are completely excluded from the smallest packages of insurance. However, you can add some of the insurance coverage with the additional packages you will pay monthly.
Benefiting from the Dutch Health System What to Do?
There are a few things you need to do as soon as you arrive in the Netherlands to benefit from the healthcare system .
1. BSN (Burgerservicenummer) almak:
Without BSN, the Dutch version of the ID number, you can hardly do anything in the Netherlands. In order to do this, you need to go to the relevant municipality and register as soon as your address is known. We will be sharing more detailed information about this. In order to get this, you need to give some documents to the municipality, such as your residence permit and your employment contract if you came through work. It may be useful to ask the municipality for the required documents beforehand, as it may differ from municipality to municipality. After your application, the IND (Immigration Office) will evaluate your application. Your BSN number will be sent to the address you specified by mail. Let us remind you that it may take up to 10 working days. In the meantime, try not to get sick 🙂
2. Bank Account
Again, in many cases where you have to pay money, you need to have an account here. If you came for work, this is also a condition for you to receive your salary. As soon as you receive the BSN, that’s the first thing you need to deal with.
3. Deciding on the Insurance Firm
Although the state requires insurance, all insurance companies are under the control of the private sector. The coverage of the basic packages is the same for all insurances.
You can compare prices on the packages you want at https://www.pricewise.nl/zorgverzekering/zorgverzekering-vergelijken/ or https://vergelijker.net/zorgverzekering/ . However, if you want to benefit from employer support, you usually do not have a choice. You have to work with the company that the employer has specified for you.
You can perform insurance transactions online. The company you choose will send you a card with the necessary information on it in a few days to the address you specify.
3. Registering with a Family Physician
Since you have insurance, the next step is to choose your family doctor from a region close to your home address. You can see the comments about the doctors in the region at https://www.zorgkaartnederland.nl/huisarts and decide accordingly. However, there is one point you should pay attention to. The clinic of the doctor you choose should not be more than a kilometer or two from your home . Otherwise, doctors will turn you away. Unfortunately, many doctors are not available because the number of doctors is limited. Therefore, you may need to call or go to the clinic in person and ask about availability.
If there is availability, you register with the card sent by the insurance. Your eyes are bright! You now have a doctor.
4. Making an Appointment
One of the most important things to know about the Netherlands is to make an appointment for everything. For the doctor, of course, this is quite logical. You can make an appointment by phone or by going to the polyclinic.
Subject of Specialist Doctor
In the Netherlands, you cannot go to the hospital on your own and be examined by a specialist doctor. First of all, you need to go to your family doctor. If the family doctor deems it appropriate, you are referred to the relevant specialist doctor. So you have the flu, your leg hurts, you need to have an operation, always the family doctor. There are exceptions here. Physical therapy and dentist. You can go to both of these without going to the family doctor, and the amount you will pay varies according to the scope of your insurance. We will elaborate on this below.
Insurance Packages and Coverages
We’ll talk about insurance packages below, but there’s one more important thing you need to know. You can consider this as your own risk. What does this mean? It means an expense item other than the monthly premium you will pay to the insurance. If your health expenses exceed this amount at the beginning of the year that year, you have to cover the amount up to an amount that you will determine when choosing a package at the beginning of the year. If your health expenses exceed this amount in the relevant year, all expenses after that point are covered by the insurance. The more you increase this limit, the lower your monthly payments will be. Although the minimum limit is set every year, the figure for 2020 is 385 €. In other words, the expenses after you pay the first 385 € will be covered by the insurance.
Within the scope of the basic package, there are family physicians and follow-up treatments and treatments for chronic diseases. The choice you need to make for the basic package is to decide whether you want to go to the partner centers. If you say that I can go to any hospital I want, your monthly payment will increase a little more.
Dental: Dental services have been completely transferred to the private sector and are not covered by the basic package. You can go to a dentist of your choice at https://www.zorgkaartnederland.nl/tandarts , register and continue your treatment here. As we mentioned above, you do not need to go to the family doctor for the dentist. With the packages you will add to your insurance coverage, you can say that 75 or 100% of the annual costs ranging from 250 to 1000 € will be covered by the insurance. Of course, keep in mind that as the coverage rate and amount increase, your monthly payments increase at the same rate.
Important note: Many dentists use an intermediary firm for payment. You have to pay the part that the insurance does not cover to that intermediary company. When registering with the dentist, be sure to learn how to make these payments. Because we did not know this, we went to an appointment once and could not get service because the payment was not made. keep in mind.
Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy): Physiotherapy is one of the most important pillars of the health system. For orthopedic problems, you can see a physiotherapist directly before your family doctor. If you cannot find a solution to your problem with physiotherapy treatment, your family doctor comes into play here. With the written recommendation of the therapist, you can go to the family doctor and request to see a specialist doctor. It is possible to choose packages with unlimited sessions of 6 times a year for this treatment method, which is also not covered by the basic package.
Eye: When you have a problem with your vision, it is enough to go directly to the eyeglasses retailer instead of the doctor. The optician there will take the measurements and give you the right glasses directly. The compensation for this service is still not included in the basic scope. However, there are packages available to cover costs from 100 to 200 € per year. A specialist ophthalmologist is considered as the last solution in case of serious eye problems.
The Netherlands has health agreements with many countries. If you experience a health problem while traveling and need to go to the hospital, the insurance coverage varies from country to country. Therefore, before traveling, it is useful to get detailed information from your insurance company.
You can also take advantage of the extra packages offered by insurance companies to increase coverage. Remember. Even if your insurance covers it, if your Own Risk limit is not reached, it will be deducted from there first and you will have to pay.
There are also additional packages for alternative treatment methods such as acupuncture. You can add costs from 200 to 700 € per year in your package.
International students are not required to have insurance. Because they are not seen as resident individuals. However, in order for them to benefit from the health system while they are here, they must have private health insurance. It is not possible to take out standard Dutch insurance because you do not have a residence.
If you start working in any job besides being a student, you are directly covered by the insurance due to residence. Even works based on volunteerism are evaluated within this scope. However, since your income will be low, it is possible to receive insurance assistance.
Health Insurance Assistance
If your annual income is less than €30,481 for singles, €38,945 for partners and less than €116,613 (for 147,459 partners), you can receive assistance.
For example, a 33-year-old can receive an insurance benefit of 63 € per month with an annual income of 25,000 €. Here is the calculation link .
Insurance for Children
All children up to the age of 18 must have insurance, but the premium is not paid until they turn 18. If you have a child in the Netherlands, you must insure your child within 4 months of birth. Persons over the age of 18 must also switch to the premium payment system within 1 month. Otherwise, there is a penalty.
Insurance Company Change
If you are not satisfied with the current insurance company, you can change companies. But you can do this once a year. Every year in November, insurance companies send out their new policies. You can switch to another insurance company until January 1st.