The health care system in the Netherlands is private, meaning you pay a fixed amount every month for it, depending on the health care plan you have chosen. Health care is well developed and to a high standard.
The Dutch word for family doctor or GP is huisarts – which literally translates into ‘house doctor’. The best place to start looking for a huisarts or tandarts (dentist) is in fact in your neighbourhood. You must register in advance with a huisarts, as otherwise you might have difficulty finding someone who can see you on short notice, should you become ill!
Dutch Health Insurance
The first step in healthcare in the Netherlands is to purchase Dutch health insurance. It is mandatory for everyone to purchase at least a base level of insurance and you must do so within four months of arrival, even if you already have an existing policy that covers you in the Netherlands.
What does the basic health insurance cover?
In case you are wondering what the standard (basic) health insurance in the Netherlands covers, here is a list:
- Consultations and treatments by a General Practitioner (GP)
- Medication prescribed by a physician or GP
- Emergency medical transport
- Hospital stays, treatments, consultations, surgery, etc.
- Psychological healthcare
- Physiotherapy for certain chronic conditions
- Dental care for children below 18 years old
- Emergency medical care abroad according to Dutch tariffs
If the above list of services does not cover your personal medical situation, you may opt for:
- Dental care for adults
- Physiotherapy for non-chronic conditions
- Alternative healing and medication, such as acupuncture and homoeopathy
- Glasses and lenses
- Traveller vaccinations
The government provides a healthcare allowance (“zorgtoeslag”) for Dutch citizens that have a low income. This financial aid which goes up to 89 euros per month, helps to pay for the deductible excess and insurance premium. You are eligible for a healthcare allowance if you:
- Are 18 years or older
- Have an income below 27.857 euros
- Have a financial capital below 107.752 euros
Prescription drugs are filled at an apotheek (pharmacy). They computerize your prescriptions and keep a close watch on the drugs you are taking in order to avoid drug interaction. Many bill your insurance company directly for the costs of prescription medicine. You will need to register with your local pharmacy to fill prescriptions.
Seeing a specialist
Keep in mind that, for your insurer to cover the expenses involved in your visit to the specialist, they will want to see a copy of the referral notice. If you want to see a specialist without referral, this is possible, but it might be more difficult to schedule an appointment and you might need to cover the costs yourself.
Some helpful links providing more detailed information about the health care system you can find below: