Sint, Mistletoe and Healthcare Insurance

Health insurance assures affordable health care. It is that time of the year again, amidst hosting Sint and putting up a Christmas tree, we have to make time to decide on healthcare insurance (HI).

Opportunity to change the healthcare insurance policy
In the Netherlands, if customers wish to change the HI provider, they have to cancel HI with the current provider before December 31 and choose a new one before February 1. However, if a customer does not choose a new HI provider before December 31, the HI provider would cover only the basic insurance in January. Therefore, those who choose to continue additional insurances or add new additional insurances must complete the whole process before December 31.

The information evening
On November 30, Holland Expat Center South hosted a healthcare insurance information evening at a hotel at Vestdijk. Speakers Irene Martens from SGE International and Jurgen Bierbooms from CZ enlightened the audience on the Dutch Healthcare system and healthcare insurance respectively.

The Dutch healthcare system
Ms. Martens gave a vivid and complete account of how healthcare works in the Netherlands. SGE International aims to change the perception of expats about the Dutch healthcare system by allocating more time for appointments and investigating need-based preventive healthcare such as check-ups. It is noteworthy that the language of operation in SGE International is English. SGE International is open on all weekdays like any other huisarts (primary healthcare center/ general practitioner’s office). Ms. Martens addressed many questions raised by the attendees and indicated that people can follow the SGE International Facebook page for updates on health care insurance and many other subjects on healthcare.

Healthcare insurance in the Netherlands
The next speaker, Jurgen Bierbooms from the insurance provider CZ began his talk with detailed information on the basic HI and its types. He advised that the “refund” type of policy would suit the needs of a person planning to take treatment abroad as against the natura type. The reimbursements of treatments in a foreign country could be limited to the cost of the same treatment in the Netherlands. It is advisable to consult the HI provider before deciding to opt for treatment abroad. Mr. Bierbooms also stressed the importance of arranging HI within 4 months of arrival in the Netherlands to avoid fines.

The mandatory excess (eigen risco) is €385 and can be optionally increased up to €885 to lower the yearly premium. (Excess means that the first €385,- is own contribution and after that, the insurance will cover the remaining cost).

A HI provider’s website usually lists the treatment cost for various procedures. However, the prices differ by the provider and by hospital based on agreements between the HI provider and hospital. For e.g. CZ may have many patients listed in a particular hospital, hence CZ can negotiate better-discounted rates. HI providers can also help to secure an earlier appointment in a different hospital when the waiting time is long and to arrange the second opinion.

Basic and additional insurances
The basic insurance does not cover orthodontics, dental care for adults, glasses & lenses and alternative healthcare such as homeopathy. For those additional treatments that are not covered by the basic insurance, there are additional insurance packages that differ with each HI provider. Dental insurance has no mandatory excess with coverage options between 70% and 100%. The insured amount is between €450 and €10,000 with most HI providers.

Having a European Union insurance card handy gives easy access to healthcare within Europe. The HI providers offer this card on request and usually do not charge any extra fee. Answering a question, Mr. Bierbooms advised expats to arrange HI in the country where they pay social security contribution.

In essence, the evening was very informative about the healthcare system and healthcare insurance. A carefully planned HI is one of the best gifts each family deserves this season. For more information, visit the websites of various HI providers and the government website

For Eindhoven News: Beena Arunraj

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