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Health insurance in the Netherlands — is it compulsory? How to insure yourself?

27 September, 2022

When leaving for the first time to work in the Netherlands, people usually use the services of an employment agency. It’s the agency that takes care of all the formalities necessary to start working abroad. However, there are still many questions and uncertainties that you may have about the cost of living in the Netherlands. One of the most common problems is the question of health insurance in the Netherlands. How much does insurance cost and is it compulsory?

What does health insurance look like in the Netherlands?

Health insurance in the Netherlands is compulsory and must be taken out. In addition, you should ensure that your insurer issues you with an insurance card which confirms that you are covered. Even if you are subject to health care in your country, it’s unfortunately insufficient in the Netherlands.

Health insurance is called zorgverzekering in the Netherlands. In the simplest terms, every individual who lives and/or works in the Netherlands must have at least such basic insurance coverage. It must be taken out at the latest within four months of your arrival in the Netherlands or if you start working there.

It’s also of note that if you don’t have health insurance in the Netherlands, you could be fined EUR350. However, if – despite the penalty – you fail to take out insurance, the College of Health Insurance will still register you with the insurer of their choice and the premiums will be deducted from your salary or the benefit you receive. It is therefore worth choosing an insurer yourself.

What does basic health insurance in the Netherlands cover?

Basic health insurance in the Netherlands, or so-called basisverzekering, covers the following:

  • basic medical care, i.e. services provided by general practitioners, specialists, and obstetricians, among others;
  • hospital treatment;
  • dental care for children up to the age of 18;
  • care for pregnant women and those in the postpartum period;
  • specific therapies such as physiotherapy (to a limited extent), speech therapy, occupational therapy, and dietary advice;
  • specific medical devices;
  • specific medical products.
In the Netherlands, you can also opt to take out an additional insurance package, i.e. aanvullende verzekering. Such insurance covers expenses not included in the compulsory health insurance.

These can be:
  • dental care for adults;
  • physiotherapy;
  • glasses and contact lenses;
  • homoeopathic medical products or other alternative medical products;
  • administrative services (ordering forms or certificates).

How much does health insurance cost in the Netherlands?

There are more than 40 insurance companies in the Netherlands. The list of these is published at As you see, there are plenty of choices.

In 2022, the average monthly premium of the basic package is around EUR120. In addition to prices, differences between insurers may lie in the number of contracted healthcare facilities, so it’s worth using online insurance comparison sites to choose the best deal for you.

If you are going to the Netherlands through an employment agency, you can take out collective health insurance (collective verzekering), which is usually cheaper than that for individual recipients. However, it is not compulsory. You might as well have private health insurance.

How do you take out health insurance in the Netherlands?

Nowadays, health insurance in the Netherlands can be taken out without leaving home. Just visit, select your insurance company and fill in the form. Most insurance companies have similar registration documents.

The following data will be required to complete the form:

  • particulars,
  • BSN number,
  • address,
  • bank account number, preferably a Dutch one
Then you need to do the following:

  • establish the amount of own risk,
  • decide to extend the package,
  • indicate whether you want to insure other family members,
  • (optionally) tick group insurance if you are entitled to it.
Once the application is approved, you need to wait for the documents (policy and insurance card). Those working through intermediaries can opt for agency insurance. In this case, all the formalities are handled by the employment agency on behalf of the employee.

Is Dutch insurance valid in Poland?

Residents of the European Union can work in one or more Member States at the same time. However, they can only pay health insurance premiums in one country.

People insured in the Netherlands who travel to Poland should obtain an EHIC, which stands for European Health Insurance Card, before leaving. As a result, they will be able to use Polish healthcare free of charge in the event of a medical emergency. Nevertheless, they should remember to obtain a medical certificate. A Dutch translation of such a document isn’t required.

For those who wish to receive planned treatment outside the Netherlands, it is necessary to obtain form S2 (formerly document E112), which entitles its holder to treatment abroad. This form must be submitted to the Polish medical facility before the treatment begins so that it can be carried out and billed. After the service has been provided, the Polish NFZ (National Health Fund) will ask for reimbursement from the Dutch side.

How do you change your health insurance in the Netherlands?

If you want to change your insurance package or policy in the Netherlands, you need to remember that the changes will come into effect from January 1 of the following year. This rule also applies to changing the insurance company.

If you do fail to do it before the end of the year, you will have to wait another whole year. If you wish to extend the package, you can try to negotiate with the insurer during the year. This is usually successful, as taking out additional insurance means extra profit for them.

Can an employment agency take out insurance?

Employment agencies that organise trips to the Netherlands usually also offer collective health insurance for foreign workers. The premiums may then be lower. However, as soon as your relationship with the agency ends, you also lose your right to insurance. Nevertheless, the employment agency is obliged to issue you with a card that will prove that you are entitled to health care, as well as a copy of your policy. You must have these documents with us at all times and be able to produce them in the event of an unexpected check.

Health insurance for Carrière employees in 2022

From January 1 2022, our employees can use one of two health insurance policies at preferential prices. You can choose between the basic or extended package. What you can gain additionally is a guarantee fund, accident and household property insurance, as well as third-party liability insurance.

Employees using Carrière accommodation are automatically covered by an extended insurance package. If you have private health insurance, you are obliged to enter this information in the relevant section of your contract with the agency.
For more information, please visit