The Netherlands, also known as Holland, immediately brings to mind images of picturesque windmills spinning cheerily. With 35-hour workweeks, a quite high average salary compared to much of the world, and an exceptional standard of living, the Netherlands has become a favored destination for expatriates. About one-third of the nation’s land lies below sea level, and it is quite an experience to live behind a wall of barrages.
English-speaking expats find the language easy to learn, since Dutch is the closest cousin of English in mainland Europe. Most expats are also curious about the Dutch public healthcare system before they move there.
Here, we take a look at the public healthcare system in the Netherlands and why having expat medical insurance is a good idea.
Public Healthcare in the Netherlands – Some Quick Facts
Like most north European countries, the Netherlands is modeled as a welfare state that places extreme importance on healthcare as a fundamental right, regardless of one's financial status. If you have plans to reside there on a long-term basis, you can take comfort in the fact that the healthcare system in Holland is exceptional.
The Dutch healthcare system is a novel mix of private and public partnerships. Everyone is required by law to buy medical insurance from private companies. But, at the same time, Holland's private medical -insurance providers have to stay within strict limits provided by the government and charge premiums accordingly.
No one can be refused health insurance, regardless of age or any other factors.
What are the steps to enroll in healthcare in the Netherlands?
- You have to register with your local municipal body and receive an identification number known as BSN (Burgerservicenummer).
- You have to purchase medical insurance from a private insurer.
- You have to register yourself with a primary healthcare provider.
For chronic illness, you have to approach the local doctor, and only with his or her advice can you proceed to hospitals they refer you to. It is somewhat similar to the HMO system in the U.S., but with a lot less bureaucracy.
The insurance company can offer you a standard, bare-bones or multiple add-ons, allowing you better and more sophisticated care—depending on the premium you pay. The monthly cost can range between €15 to €200, depending on your type of coverage, age, pre-existing conditions, and occupation.
But under no circumstances can you be denied treatment by the Dutch insurance company on the pretext that your use of the policy has topped out.
Buying Expat Insurance for the Netherlands
Expats from developed nations with exceptional publicly funded healthcare systems have one important question before taking a job on foreign shores: Should I buy private insurance if my employer does not pay for it?
After all, these nations boast a terrific, free-of-cost system, and paying more seems unnecessary if you are not reimbursed. If you are coming to the Netherlands, there is no such dilemma. You have to buy insurance. One less decision to make before relocating makes it that much easier.
Key Points to Consider When Choosing Expat Medical Insurance
- Geographical Coverage – A plan that covers you in several countries is better. The policy you buy must apply across all of Europe, including the UK. A global policy that excludes the U.S. and the Far East is the best priced. You remain covered even if you decide to spend a summer at the sandy beaches of Seychelles (in East Africa).
- Pre-existing Conditions – Basic policies might disallow treatment of any illness that began when you were uninsured. The so-called wait period might run from 24 months for a cataract to 48 months for critical illness such as heart attack. It is essential to understand the fine print and buy a policy that covers you no matter what.
- Evacuation – The Netherlands has excellent hospitals, but you might wish to be evacuated to France or Germany for advanced medical care. Your expat policy should cover evacuation costs by land, sea, and air when needed.
- Translation – This is a must-have. Do you know what bloeddruk of 120/80 means for you? Don't be scared; it means your blood pressure is 120/80 and fine! Translation of medical test reports and prescriptions to your language of choice is essential. It might mean the difference between you agreeing to the treatment you receive and staying or leaving Holland altogether.
- Co-Pay – Co-pay means that the insured shares some burden of payment. The co-pay can vary from 10% to 30% and ensures that unnecessary visits to the hospital are not made. Lessen the co-pay ratio to lower your burden. You can negotiate this with your expat health insurance provider. It varies between countries and is not set in stone.
- Outpatient Treatment – Outpatient treatment is any treatment you receive after being discharged following a procedure, or without getting admitted into the hospital. The inpatient has to stay for one night. A few policies pay only for an inpatient stay; this means that if you cut your hand badly and need stitches, you would have to bear the cost out of pocket. Look for clauses in the policy that allow insurance companies to refuse outpatient reimbursement.
- Cashless– Last but not least, cashless is the best way to pay. In the cashless method, the insurance provider directly reimburses the hospital based on their weekly billing. It also has few drawbacks, such as waiting for preapproval for some operations, but the benefits far outweigh the minor wait in some cases.
Stay Covered with Netherlands Expat Health Insurance
When you are far away from home, in a country where you do not understand the language, it is a must to buy expat health insurance when you apply for a work visa. If your well-being is assured, you can stay calm and be a more productive employee.
We offer you a quick and easy way to compare different expat insurance policies for the Netherlands, and identify the one most suitable for you. Provide a few details such as age, gender, and area of coverage, and you are immediately provided with several quotes from different companies. You can easily compare the terms and settle for the best and most affordable.
If you stay protected, you will be safe from surprises.