Netherlands Health Care
One of the many great things about living in the Netherlands is the excellent standard of Netherlands health care; consumer indexes rate it among the best in Europe. The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport controls the Netherlands health care system, and their ambition is to keep everyone healthy for as long as possible. All residents are required to arrange basic Dutch health insurance coverage to access health services. Public healthcare is funded through insurance premiums, which are paid monthly to private companies. On top of this, your employer will pay a percentage of your salary towards health insurance. It is a universal system, meaning that everyone is entitled to the same standard of care, regardless of economic status.
Healthcare in the Netherlands
Family doctors in the Netherlands, the huisarts, provide primary care. You should find a doctor before you need one, as soon as you have secured health insurance. GPS are often located in multidisciplinary health centres alongside dentists, midwives and physiotherapists. The Netherlands has world-class non-profit hospitals, including eight university hospitals specialising in complex areas of medicine. You are free to choose which hospital you would like to treat you. The Dutch are also open-minded when it comes to alternative medicine, therapies such as acupuncture and the chiropractor are often covered under basic insurance policies.
Doctors in the Netherlands
Most doctors in the Netherlands can speak good English, but there are also health centres which specialise in helping expats. If you want to see a specialist, you first need to be examined by the GP who will decide if you can go to a hospital. It is not possible to make appointments directly with specialists and your insurance will not cover costs without a referral. Doctors in the Netherlands do not prescribe antibiotics or anti-depressants unnecessarily and are more likely to prescribe rest and paracetamol. Some expats are confused by this wait and see approach, but it is a deliberate policy to prevent antibiotic-resistant bacteria or superbugs. Doctors in the Netherlands expect you to be direct and clearly communicate what you want. They will be straightforward too, but it shouldn't be taken as unfriendly or uncaring.
Health Insurance in the Netherlands
Basic health insurance is mandatory for all long-term residents in the Netherlands. You are free to choose your provider, but the government regulates the standard of care. The basic package covers doctor appointments, prescription charges, hospital stays and surgery. In addition to statutory coverage, most of the population (84%) purchases a mixture of supplementary insurance, covering extras such as dental care, alternative therapies, physiotherapy, eyeglasses and contact lenses, and contraceptives. Some employers have collective arrangements with insurance providers to provide a discount for their employees. Long term care for the elderly or disabled is funded through an additional insurance contribution which is automatically deducted from your monthly salary.
Healthcare in the Netherlands – Mundialz
Deciding whether to move abroad always throws up many questions, Netherlands health care included. Mundialz wants to help answer some of those questions. Check out our information pages on living in the Netherlands and working in the Netherlands to find out more before you move.