Health insurance

Health insurance provides insurance cover for the cost of medical care. Every person who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, hospital treatment and prescription medication. You may also opt to take additional insurance to cover costs not included in the standard package.

How do I start an insurance policy?

There are many websites that will help you choose the right type of insurance for your stage in life such as Zorgwijzer. In some occasions your employer can offer you an insurance at a reduced rate (collective health insurance). Please make sure you have a policy shortly after arriving in the Netherlands, as you can be fined if you are not properly insured. Organising your insurance only takes a few minutes and you can also set up a monthly direct payment from your bank account.

Please note: The healthcare insurance provider will need the Social Security Number (BSN) in order to complete the registration process. You will obtain the BSN when you register with the municipality where you reside.

The health care insurance companies are private, but are fully bound to Dutch health legislation. They have to accept you for the standard package, regardless of your age, health or unhealthy habits. Insurance companies are not obligated to accept clients who want to have an additional insurance. The insurance company can request you to fill out a list of medical questions or to participate in a medical examination before accepting you in the additional insurance. Children need to be registered at the provider as well, but are insured for free until the age of 18 years.

Am I subject to the social security law?

When you or your partner work in the Netherlands and pay taxes, you are subject to the social security law. This might differ when you work temporarily in the Netherlands, or when you are student or PHD candidate. Read about the exemptions here. Check the website of the Sociale Verzekeringsbank if you believe you might be exempted from the healthcare insurance duty.

To help you find a health insurance provider, you can use this tool.
Read more about finding a healthcare insurance provider.

Information on how to find a family doctor, dentist or pharmacy is explained in this section of our website. You will also find more details on how the Dutch healthcare system works.