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Health matters

Exemptions Dutch Medical Insurance

Every person who lives or works in the Netherlands is legally obliged to take out standard health insurance to cover the cost of, for example, consulting a general practitioner, getting hospital treatment or obtaining prescription medication. However, one may be able to keep one’s health insurance from another country under certain conditions and thus be exempt from having Dutch health insurance

Student Exemption

Foreign students who under the age of 30 living temporarily in the Netherlands solely on account of their studies are exempt from the obligation to take out Dutch health insurance. International students who study in the Netherlands but also have a part-time job or paid internship (note: even a zero-hour (casual) contract will count as a job) are NOT exempt and must have Dutch medical insurance. The zorgwijzer.nl site has more information on determining if you are obligated to have Dutch medical insurance as a student, as well as information on obtaining proper medical insurance.

Posted EU Worker Exemption

You are a posted worker if your employer sends you to work in another country on a temporary basis. More information on insurance rules for posted workers can be found here. Since 1 May 2010, the period of the posting is 24 months (earlier, it was 12 months) or less. If you are a posted worker, you have certain rights as follows:

Health entitlements

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced forms such as the E111 and the E128, making it easier for you to get medical care quickly and easily. The EHIC is a free card that gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.  It is evidence that you are part of a health insurance scheme administered by another state in the EEA/Switzerland. Cards are issued by your national health insurance provider in the country where you are registered. This may work well with people who work across the border. Important – the European Health Insurance Card:

  • is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property,
  • does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment,
  • does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.

An S1 portable document (formerly E106) ensures that you have the same health entitlements in the state to which you are being posted, as are available to nationals of that state. When you move your habitual residence to another country, you should register with the S1 form instead of using the EHIC to receive medical care in your new country of habitual residence.

Social insurance

As a posted worker, you generally will continue to pay your social security contributions in your home EU country. You should apply for an A1 (formerly E101) certificate which states that you are insured for social security purposes in your home EU country. This will exempt you and your employer from paying social insurance in the country to which you are posted. At least 4 weeks before you leave you or your employer should apply for the AI certificate. You can find useful forms here. Family members of a posted EU worker living in the Netherlands are not exempt; they MUST be insured by Dutch health insurance.

Posted non-EU Worker Exemption

If there is a social security treaty between the Netherlands and a non-EU country, the posted non-EU worker may be exempt from the obligation to take out Dutch health insurance.

Treaty countries

Apart from the Member States of the EU and the EEA, the Netherlands also has social security agreements with the following countries:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belize
  • Bosnia Herzegovina
  • Canada (including Quebec)
  • Chile
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Philippines
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel (except for the Gaza Strip, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan)
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Cape Verde
  • Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm, Jethou)
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Man
  • Morocco (except for Western Sahara)
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Serbia
  • Surinam
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uruguay
  • United States of America
  • South Africa
  • South Korea

To test if one is exempt from taking out Dutch health insurance: As of 1 January 2015, the AWBZ has been changed so that what was covered under the old AWBZ is now covered in other insurance acts (see here). To determine if one would be exempt from the mandatory health insurance law or not, please see this link. By filling in the questionnaire, either online using your DigiD or submitting a printed form, the SVB will judge if one is required to have medical insurance from a Dutch company or not.

Other useful information:
Info on Netherlands cross-border health care (For example, if you want to be treated in a different EU country than where you are insured).
Health insurance information 
Zorg Institute Nederland (Information in Dutch)