The following is general information about whether foreign employees are required to have Dutch health insurance.
Please note that social security questions are not the focus of our law practice. The guidance we provide below is information that we have learned from experience in our immigration law practice.
Every Dutch resident or anyone living in the Netherlands is obliged to take out Dutch health insurance or a health insurance policy with a Dutch health insurer. This applies to:
- Foreign employees who have to apply for a residence permit in the Netherlands and who register locally in the Population Register (which is called the “Basisregistratie Personen” or BRP) at the Town or City Hall, which includes all foreign employees who stay in the Netherlands for more than three months. A condition for the residence permit is to take up main residence in the Netherlands, which means to have your living accommodations in the Netherlands and to register at this address in the BRP.
- Everyone working in the Netherlands for more than 3 months but less than 180 days.
- Foreign employees who come to work temporarily when they join a Dutch company or enter into an employment contract with a Dutch company.
Exempted Under Treaty
Employees who are temporarily posted to work at a company in the Netherlands (a so called secondment) may be exempted from the obligation to take out Dutch health insurance if the following conditions are met:
- The employee has been posted from a country that has a social security treaty with the Netherlands .
- The employee and the secondment are covered by the treaty.
- Under the treaty, the employee falls under the social security regime of the country of origin during the transfer.
The question of exactly which conditions must be met will differ depending on the treaty, but as a general rule, at a minimum, the following requirements must be met:
- During the entire transfer period, the employment contract between the employee and the employer in the country of origin is maintained.
- The salary is paid by that employer.
- Before the transfer, the employee fell under the social security regime of the country of origin.
The permitted period of coverage during the secondment can vary from a maximum duration of 12 months to an indefinite period. It is 60 months for US and Indian nationals.
The determination of whether the above also applies to family members who join the posted employee will depend on the treaty.
It is advisable for the application to include a request for a “certificate or coverage" (an A1 in EU countries). Sometimes this request is actually required by treaty.
Determine whether the employee is exempt
To determine whether an employee is required to have Dutch health insurance, the following procedure can be followed:
- Apply for and obtain a certificate of coverage. For the US, see this website.
- Then, submit an ‘Application for Wlz insurance assessment’ to the SVB (“Sociale Verzekeringsbank”), the organization responsible for implementing Dutch national insurance schemes. That can be done online.
- The SVB then determines whether there is an insurance obligation in the Netherlands. This determination will be sent to the employee and to the "Zorginstituut" (Care Institute), the Dutch agency that checks whether those who are obliged to take out health insurance in the Netherlands, are actually properly insured.
If the employee is exempt
Even if the employee is exempt, they must be sufficiently insured to cover medical expenses. Otherwise, their residence permit will be withdrawn. In this situation, foreign or international insurance must provide sufficient coverage. The employee must be able to demonstrate this to the IND upon request. Therefore, he or she must ensure that there is evidence showing what Dutch healthcare costs are covered.