Mandatory vs private
Healthcare in the Netherlands is known for its high standards and quality and has been ranked amongst the top countries globally. In the Dutch system, both native citizens and expats are required to purchase a health insurance through a Dutch insurance company. The government decides on what the standard package covers, and Dutch insurance companies cannot reject anyone applying for it.
It is important to check whether the mandatory healthcare covers everything you require. For example, the following are not included in the basic healthcare that is offered:
- Dental & optical care
- Choice between physicians & facilities
- Medical repatriation
Many expats choose to supplement their healthcare in the Netherlands with private insurance to include a wider range of services. Insurance plans such as those offered by AXA – Global Healthcare can cover each of the above and more. With them, you get shorter waiting periods for appointments and surgeries as well as access to an international health plan, so you're covered wherever you travel in the world.
Hospitals in the Netherlands struggle to keep up with the sheer volume of patients that come in each day. Thus, the average waiting time for a non-urgent medical appointment sits at an average of 4 weeks.
The waiting time for emergency care is also problematic in the public system, mainly because of a lack of nurses and medical professionals. In extreme cases, you could be waiting for over 4 hours to be seen in some of the hospitals. Usually though, you can expect waiting times to be at least an hour.
If you would like more tips about healthcare in this country, check out The Netherlands Health Guide. Here you will find lots more information about how the public system works including doctors, pharmacies and what to do in an emergency.
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