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Healthcare in the Netherlands

One of our closest European neighbours, the Netherlands is a popular destination for business, tourism and city breaks. As both the EU and the Netherlands are members of the European Union, there are health agreements in place which will help meet some of the cost of falling ill or being hospital while you are in Amsterdam or further afield. EHIC is the name of the reciprocal health scheme, and you have to fill in the application forms online before leaving home. EHIC ensures you have the same access to state healthcare as a Dutch citizen, but might not meet all of the costs of being ill in the Netherlands.

EHIC in the Netherlands

EHIC cover can only be used to access the Dutch state healthcare system, and will not pay or reimburse the costs for private care. The Dutch system is complex, and all Dutch citizens have to take out their own health insurance. As an EHIC holder, any medical treatment you receive in an emergency will be free of charge, whatever the type of healthcare provider you see. If however you are in the Netherlands for a longer period and want to see a GP for referral to hospital for a non-urgent issue, you should make sure your GP is referring you to a ZKH provider.

Under the Dutch system, you will also be expected to make contributions, known as co-pay, towards the cost of your medical treatment. The Dutch government may be able to reimburse some of these costs under the EHIC system, but not all of them. Claims for any reimbursement have to be made before you fly home, and original bills must be submitted. Always ask for itemised invoices for any charges, and keep copies if asked for originals. You may also be asked to pay towards any prescription medicine a doctor gives you.

In general, the Dutch healthcare system is modern and efficient, and many doctors, dentists and other professionals will speak fluent English.

Private healthcare in the Netherlands

If you have medical cover through your travel insurance policy, you can sidestep the need to make payments and contributions by handing the matter over to your insurance company instead. If they agree that you have a claim and that they will meet the cost, then you have more choice over where you can be admitted and which type of doctor you see. Having travel insurance cover may also get you a single room in hospital and quicker diagnostic tests.

Travel insurance policies vary, but most will also reimburse additional costs you incur because of delays to travel because of illness or having to fly home early. In worst case scenarios, travel insurance will often pay for an air ambulance transfer home so you can be treated in a UK hospital. Terms, conditions and excess limits vary, and if you have any existing medical conditions you will have to let the insurance company know about this. Take a copy of your insurance policy with you, or at least a note of your policy number and the company’s emergency helpline phone number.