A complete guide for health insurance in the Netherlands for international students

Living in a different country often presents you with new challenges to overcome and things you may not have had to think about yet. The Netherlands is no exception. Despite its status as one of the prime destinations for international students and a very accommodating atmosphere overall, there are a couple of things you’ll have to figure out for yourself. One such issue that may crop up is that of an international student’s health insurance in the Netherlands. It can get very confusing, especially if you’ve never had to deal with this directly, or if there are differences in how your healthcare gets handled back home. But don’t worry, the Dutch health insurance system for international students is robust and deceptively simple, once you become better acquainted with it. Here are the main points you need to know.

Who does, and who does not, have to get health insurance?

First things first, it’s crucial to figure out if you need insurance in the first place. Here’s a quick checklist to help you figure it out. If you already have health insurance in your home country, which is part of:

  • the EU,
  • the EEA,
  • or Switzerland

– you may keep your insurance by getting your EHIC issued free of charge by your home country’s government. That will serve as your international health insurance during your stay. Mind you, it only covers the same type of cases as your insurances back home, so you’ll still need a traveler’s insurance, for example. Additionally, it does not cover more advanced cases such as dentistry or physiotherapy.

However, if you:

  • don’t have insurance back home,
  • are not from the countries/unions above,
  • don’t have a provider that will cover costs in the Netherlands

– you will have to get private insurance during your studies. Not getting your insurance after four months of you getting your residence permit can have you receive a hefty fine. Even worse, you may end up having to pay the full costs of the treatment out of your pocket, if anything happens.

What is student insurance, and what does it offer?

Health insurance for international students in the Netherlands represents a monthly contribution you pay to a firm. This firm will then cover most or all of the medical costs, should you be met with health difficulties during your studies. The basic health insurance costs around 100 euros per month and covers:

  • Appointments with your doctor
  • Stays at the hospital, surgery and emergency treatment
  • Ambulance services and patient transport
  • Medicine prescriptions
  • Blood tests
  • Dental care for children under 18 years
  • Limited dental care for adults over 18, restricted to dental surgery, dental x-rays
  • Mental health care
  • Appointments with medical specialists such as dermatologists, allergists or internal specialists
  • Pregnancy, birth care, and midwifery services
  • Maternity care
  • Care for people with disabilities
  • Aged care
  • Nursing on location
  • Some therapeutic services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, and diet advice
  • Physiotherapy for chronic disorders, covered from the 21st treatment onwards

At the same time, healthcare for college students comes in many shapes and sizes, despite having the same base set of features. The insurance company’s policies, as well as the medical institutions where you can receive treatment, will vary. That makes it essential to look around and pick the one that best fits your needs.

What changes if I plan to work?

If you plan on working in the Netherlands, then if you don’t have health insurance in the Netherlands, you will have to get it. That’s true, regardless of your current insurance status. It is also true if you have an EHIC – working in the Netherlands, even part-time requires health insurance provided by an agency from the Netherlands.


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