Basic Dutch health insurance with foreign income

I am having issues purchasing basic Dutch health insurance.

I have registered with my Italian passport and have my BSN.  However, I have had two insurance companies tell me that I cannot purchase health insurance because I receive foreign income (from the USA).  This contradicts my understanding that I am required to have Dutch insurance, given that I will be here for some time.

How can I get myself insured?? I only need the basic insurance.


Hi and welcome to the Forum.

Your not the 1st guy to tell us this; unfortunately, nobody came back and told us what they did.  This link will take you to a Dutch Government website that deals with Medical Insurance.  At the bottom of the page that opens is a link to a Q&A page; as well as having a whole lot of questions and answers that may help you, there is an online chat window (top right of the page) where you can ask other questions, give that a try tomorrow during office hours and perhaps they can help.

Please let us know what the outcome is for you.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

The problem is that you don't  pay taxes in the Netherlands, so you cannot take part into our health care scheme. However there is a company where you can insure yourself: Oom  Insurance

After many phone calls, here is the deal:

What Ramses said above is correct, although if you have NO income at all you DO qualify for basic Dutch insurance, even though you are not paying into the system.  If you have income from both Dutch and foreign sources, you have to have at least 25% of it come from the Netherlands (there is a complicated interpretation of ’25%,’ incorporating salary, taxes, and hours in each country.  The person from SBV was not even sure of the formula).

So if you have no Dutch income, but income in another country, you are basically screwed, unless you want to purchase global/expat insurance that will not, of course, cover pre-existing conditions.

Does anyone know if this is typical in the EU?

Hi again.

It's pretty much what I expected.  To answer your question, yes, it's pretty much standard across the EU.

Expat Team

There is another thing to be aware of if you are not  covered by the Dutch health insurance and decide to go private. Many Dutch travel insurance policies (e.g. ANWB) specifically require that you are covered by the Dutch health scheme, i.e. they don't  accept alternative private schemes, even where these schemes may give medical cover which is comparable with that of the Dutch system. It's important to check the policy fine print on this point in case you might need to claim for a costly event such as medical repatriation by air ambulance.

Dutch travel insurance policies don't cover you in the Netherlands. The only option to insure yourself is by OOM Insurances, they are  the only company that will insure you.

Also without income you cannot insure yourself as a foreigner. Everybody who wants healthcare must contribute to the Dutch system and as a Dutchmen I only find that logical.

According to two Dutch insurance companies with whom I spoke, as well as SVB, a lack of any income is not an exclusion for Dutch health insurance, assuming you are registered with a BSN.

But under the Dutch system, if you have no income, you fall onto Social Security, your Health Insurance is deducted at source before you get your social payments; the problem ex-pats face is that none are entitled to claim social security until they have worked in the Netherlands and made sufficient contributions.

People in your situation (with income from outside the Netherlands) are then in a problem because the deductions cannot be made at source as the law requires.

I never thought I would ever say I would like to see Ziekenfonds come back.  Under that scheme, you could walk in and make payments.

I suspect you are on the short-term database (that's how you got your BSN); again, this is never what it was intended for.  I foresee a large axe being taken to the system in the near future.

But if Palex is becoming a resident  of NL surely he will have to make a tax declaration here and that's where the income related health insurance premium calculated and  is deducted. Foreign incomes  and wealth have to be declared so it's not clear to me a case of zero income arises.

Incidentally, although of no interest to Palex, Ramses last comments need some modification. ANWB certainly provides travel insurance for holidays in NL. Everyone who wants Dutch health care must contribute in order to get it, but not necessarily via the Dutch insurance system. Employees and pensioners of international agencies (
ESA, NATO, EPO, International Court, etc) are excluded from direct contributions (basisverzekering and Income related contributions paid to the Belastingdienst) because they are insured by their respective organisations. I fall into this category (I had no choice when I was employed ) and  have to pay medical bills directly to my health provider , after which I have to make a claim on my non-Dutch insurance. A lot of bureaucracy is involved for me but no impact on the Dutch nation.

His issue is his employer is US based and I assume has no Dutch operation.

Palex wrote:

I receive foreign income (from the USA)

If he had a Dutch contract we wouldn't be having this conversation.

We've been getting more and more people who have discovered their EU ancestry and gotten their new passport on the back of that and then decide to live in their homeland while still keeping their US-based job and work online.

When we first moved to the Netherlands in the 90's we had the NATO medical exemption, but when I retired, the only option was ziekenfonds that we paid monthly for a few months until my wife went back to nursing and we were covered by her work.  It's changed again since then (2006).

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