Hmmm (Or: Dutch health insurance)

Next thing to work on: figuring out Dutch health insurance. Actually, I don’t have as much to figure out as I thought. I had mentioned the predicament to Marco and this morning I woke up to a PDF from Oom Verzekeringen (Oom insurance) that Marco had thoughtfully sent to me.

According to their page it seems that the best fit would be Global Visitor Insurance, since in the end this is really just short term insurance until I can secure a residence permit and find a more permanent solution. The page specifically mentions it works until you can get a residence permit, so yay. If anyone over in America is wondering, it’s illegal to not have health insurance in the Netherlands if you live there. I like not getting fined. I am not completely clear if you need it as soon as you set foot in the country, but you definitely do on the day you get your residence permit.

I still remember Marco explaining Dutch health insurance — it’s not tied to your job at all. Which is in some ways nice, since right now my work decides which health insurance is best for the college, and you only have a few tiers of coverage to choose from. There’s usually a lot of grumblings from my coworkers, but I have been lucky enough to not have been turned upside down and shaken so all my money falls out… yet… (some of the stories my coworkers tell me sound like downright highway robbery).

Mind you, I am not a user of health insurance in general. So far under this job I have not used anything from my health insurance, though I have faithfully visited the dentist every 6 months for a routine checkup (dental coverage is separate from health insurance for me).

But I am glad to see it doesn’t seem to be that difficult. Though if you’re an expat with a Dutch health insurance horror story, feel free to share!

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Categories: Forms, etc. | Tags: | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Hmmm (Or: Dutch health insurance)

  1. Is Dutch health cover public or private or a mix of both?

    • As far as I can tell (because I have not done much research yet), it is a mixture of both. Everyone is entitled to basic public health care (called zorgverzekering), though you have to pay for it. You get this through a private company – each company is required to offer it. It pays for stuff like doctor’s visits. But individuals can get additional care for a higher monthly fee.

      In addition, since everyone over the age of 18 is required to have health insurance, part of your income tax goes towards the general public’s monetary pool for “exceptional medical care” — for example, if you are disabled. But since part of your income tax goes there, even a basic health insurance plan will grant you this relief if you need exceptional medical care.

      • housewifedownunder

        Interesting. I’m always curious about how other countries structure their healthcare. Do even very poor people have to buy their own basic insurance or is there a provision for low-income people to get it for free? In Australia, everyone has access to the “free” system (which is paid for by your taxes based on income), but people who can afford to are encouraged to buy supplemental private insurance and claim a rebate for it to ease the burden on the public system.

        • Niki

          I read somewhere that the basic health insurance costs about 100 euros a month (or 1,200 euros a year), and some families with low income can receive a healthcare allowance (‘zorgtoeslag’) of almost 700 euros a year. So it does not make up for it completely – but some families would be paying only 45 euros or so a month.

          • housewifedownunder

            That surprises me! I would have thought the Netherlands would have more of a “safety net” for the poor, being more of a socially liberal country in many respects.

  2. I’m already in NL for 8 months now and I am still struggling to find a perfect health insurance… I am given 2 months from now to get it done. Coincidentally, I was also discussing this with Jos last night and i was told the same – Health insurance is totally private and the company you work for has nothing to do with it! In SIngapore, the company we worked for has to pay our medical if we fall ill! So that’s quite a big difference.

  3. Marco

    Housewifedownunder: They changed the system a few years ago, and made it more of an open market. This meant prizes went up.
    It’s one of the small steps of the Netherlands becoming less social all across the board.

    Since the companies get to offer you the different packages, you can pick the one you like most.
    The government does decree them to include certain things.
    However, obviously, they (the companies) do try to screw you over. Like a lot of the different packages include pregnancy care. Even for males, elderly, etc. And you cannot say “I want A and C but not B” most of the times.
    Maybe that’s the next step. Mix-n-Match care.

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