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Is healthcare in the Netherlands free?

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Overview of the Netherlands’ health care system

The Netherlands offers healthcare through a universal health insurance program. Private insurance is used to provide this service.

Covid-19 in The Netherlands

The rules and restrictions surrounding the global Covid-19 pandemic continue to evolve. You will need to be informed about what to do if you are exposed to Covid-19 or become ill from it. Also, you should have information and options regarding vaccinations and restrictions.
As of the writing, some rules require people with Covid-19 and their household members to self-isolate. In some areas, face masks may be required. There are also limits to the number of household guests allowed each day.
The Netherlands’ health care system is well-known for its high standards and excellent facilities. It also offers universal healthcare that private providers provide. Let’s get into it a bit more.

Is there universal health care in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands has a universal healthcare system. It is managed by the government, with private insurances supplementing it.
Anybody living or working in the Netherlands should have basic health insurance from a Dutch provider, with or without additional coverage.
Parent’s insurance automatically covers children under 18. Health care allowances for low-income earners are available to have mandatory insurance.

Holland’s public healthcare system

The state provides mandatory insurance, which is paid for by the state. Private insurance companies manage it. A regulator includes funding for the insurance companies.
All long-term and primary care must be provided at a fixed cost. Companies cannot refuse to cover anyone or impose punitive conditions or fees based on someone’s financial or medical situation.

Private healthcare in the Netherlands

Additional services can be added to the insurance company’s existing offerings. They can apply for financial aid if they need supplemental services or have a lower income.

The Netherlands has health insurance.

You will need basic Dutch insurance if you plan to move permanently to the Netherlands. This is even if your private international insurance is from another country.
The government tightly regulates the quality and plans of Dutch companies. Everybody has the right of choice as to which provider they choose, and all insurers must cover everyone for a flat rate. The government sets a mandatory deductible for Dutch health insurance.
This amount will be EUR385 in 2022. However, the government reviews it each year and changes it if necessary.

There are two types of insurance coverage for health:

  • Basic compulsory insurance
  • Additional insurance options

The government sets the standard for basic health coverage. While it is considered essential, it typically covers a wide range of things such as5:

  • Visits to the GP
  • Some specialist care
  • Hospital care
  • There are some mental health treatments
  • Medication
  • Dental care until 18
  • Maternity care
  • Advice on diet
  • Services for quitting smoking
  • Some therapies

Most services will have out-of-pocket charges. Basic Dutch medical insurance costs around EUR100 per month. Your provider will set your monthly premiums for the entire calendar year.
Insurance must be obtained within three months of your arrival. However, you must register with your local authority and obtain a citizen service number (BSN).

Dutch ex-pats have access to health insurance.

Health coverage is compulsory. You will need private insurance if you are a Dutch citizen or resident. Otherwise, you could face a fine. These rules apply to ex-pats who have been in the Netherlands for at least three months.
The Netherlands requires that all members of the family travel to the Netherlands. This insurance covers the family and provides coverage for children under 18.
This checklist, which the Dutch government issues, can help you determine what kind of healthcare may suit you and start to apply for it.

Tourists can get temporary health insurance.

You can use your European Health Insurance Card if you are a tourist from the EU/EEA and stay in the Netherlands for less than 12 months.
Temporary visitors who are not from the EU/EEA need to arrange for their international insurance and travel insurance.

Dutch student health insurance

You may not need mandatory health insurance if you are an international student in the Netherlands. You will need sufficient private coverage to ensure access to medical services whenever you need them.
It would help if you also remembered that mandatory Dutch insurance might be required for you to have Dutch health insurance once you begin working in the Netherlands or do an internship there

Costs of health care in the Netherlands

Health care will be an important aspect of your budget when you plan to move to the Netherlands. Although basic insurance costs are not as high as in the US or other developed countries, they are still affordable. However, coverage is required, so ensure you include them in your cost of living.

Are the Netherlands able to afford free healthcare?

The Netherlands offers universal healthcare. However, the government requires all Dutch citizens and residents to have primary insurance. The basic plan will run you EUR 100-120.
Your employer may also pay a small portion of your medical coverage if employed. Children below 18 years old don’t have to pay for their health insurance.
The basic plan includes visits to the hospital and GP. You may need to pay an extra portion for specific treatments.
For an additional fee, many people choose the higher-level insurance coverage that covers other treatments not covered by their basic package.

Hospitals in the Netherlands

There are three Dutch hospitals: teaching hospitals, general hospitals and university hospitals. They are mostly privately owned.
Patients must provide their details before being treated at a hospital for a routine visit.
The hospital will issue a patient ID card. This card can be taken with you to any future visits. You will be covered by basic health insurance, but you might have to pay an additional fee depending on your treatment.

Specialists and doctors in the Netherlands

After you have obtained your health insurance, it is time to register with a local doctor or huisarts (in Dutch).
The role of the local doctor is essential in healthcare in the Netherlands. They are often the first to receive any treatment. Language shouldn’t be a problem as most doctors can speak English.

Locating a Dutch family doctor

To visit your doctor, you will need to register in advance. To assist new patients, many practices offer a free telephone consultation. Some courses may not accept new patients, but there might be a waiting list.

The Netherlands has several specialists.

To see a specialist, you must be referred to by your doctor. You may have to wait a while as most specialists work in hospitals.
It would help if you kept in mind that your primary health insurance will cover you for a visit to the specialist. However, an excess fee may be charged depending on the treatment.

What are the main differences between the US and Netherlands healthcare?

The Dutch healthcare system largely depends on private companies for treatment, but it is managed by the government that enforces mandatory insurance. Individuals have the option to only enrol in the most basic insurance plans. However, they cannot wholly opt-out of any project unless there are exceptional circumstances. There are some critical differences between the US and this system.
Insurers cannot refuse people based on their medical needs and can’t raise prices because some people may require more care than others.
A family physician ensures all Dutch citizens. This doctor must be seen before seeing a specialist or receiving care for more complicated health issues.
You may be required to pay a coinsurance fee if you visit a Dutch doctor or require medication. However, this rate is likely much lower than what you would pay in the US.
However, expatriates from the US and Netherlands report that doctors are less likely to prescribe antibiotics. This is due to lifestyle choices and fresh air used for minor illnesses such as flu and colds.
The Netherlands has a lot to offer in healthcare. It is affordable and of world-class quality. This guide will assist you in finding the proper care and coverage.