Medical care abroad

Once you have determined if you need to take out Dutch health care insurance, you might wonder if the insurance will provide coverage when going abroad. As a student you probably want to explore more of Europe while studying in the Netherlands. Maybe a city trip, road trip or backpacking experience, all require health care insurance and maybe, if desired, additional travel insurance. Does Dutch health care insurance cover medical care abroad? Or do you need to take out supplementary insurance to have the desired coverage? These questions and others will be answered in this article.

Do I need to take out Dutch health care insurance?

Everybody that lives of works in the Netherlands for more than 4 months is obliged to take out Dutch health care insurance. That doesn’t fully apply to international students under the age of 30. When studying in the Netherlands it depends on if you want to work in the country as well. Check our page on Dutch basic health care insurance for more information.

Is my Dutch health care insurance valid abroad?

When you decide to travel in the European Union/European Economic Area or Switzerland your Dutch basic health care insurance will cover all necessary medical assistance up to a maximum of the Dutch market rate used for the treatment. If the same treatment abroad is more expensive, you will have to pay the difference or take out supplementary insurance. Bear in mind these rules:

  • Private health care clinics are not covered, you will have to attend public health care for emergency treatment;
  • Normally only urgent medical care is covered;
  • Different rules apply when you travel solely for planned medical treatment.

What supplementary insurance can I take out for travels abroad?

Dutch basic health care insurance only covers medical treatment abroad to a maximum of what the treatment costs in the Netherlands. I you seek additional coverage you will have to take out supplementary insurance. There are two options:

  • Supplementary health care insurance: you can choose additional coverage for traveling abroad. Health care insurance companies often give you the option to choose coverage for Europe or the whole world. This coverage is usually found as a separate ‘abroad’ module. However, in some cases this coverage can be part of a full supplementary insurance package also containing other coverages, such as physiotherapy;
  • Supplementary travel insurance: in case you also seek coverage for damage of loss of luggage, extraordinary or unforeseen costs and medical costs you can consider the option of additional travel insurance. The travel insurance can be short (only the days you travel) or continuous (if you travel more often during the year). Additional medical costs above the Dutch market rate for the necessary treatment are covered by travel insurance. Make sure the travel insurance has coverage for these emergency medical costs abroad that exceed Dutch rates for treatment. In case you’re doing dangerous sports such as skiing, also make sure the additional module for dangerous sports is activated.

Bring your EHIC-card

To further simplify coverage of your Dutch health care insurance abroad as well as administration, you should bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Apply for this card with your insurance company and present it when necessary for medical treatment to prove you are well insured. Check our EHIC page for more information.