Science - January 12, 2006

Healthcare changes affect foreigners

A new healthcare system was introduced in the Netherlands on 1 January. International students over thirty who are staying longer than one year in the Netherlands and international employees of Wageningen UR must take out a ‘basic health insurance policy’. Students who have a job alongside their study must also do so.

According to the law, everyone living in the Netherlands must have health insurance. For most European exchange students nothing changes, as the health insurance from their own country is sufficient. But international students over thirty who will be staying longer than one year in the Netherlands, students who have a job here, and foreigners who are employees of Wageningen UR must take out a Dutch ‘basic health insurance policy’ (zorgverzekering).

To do this they must first apply at the Municipality Office for a tax and social insurance number (sofi-nummer). Once they have their number they can then arrange their own health insurance. In order to be able to get a sofi-nummer students must be registered with the municipality and have a residence permit. The sofi-nummer also entitles them to apply to the tax office (belastingdienst) for a healthcare allowance. All the paperwork has to be done in Dutch.

Like Dutch citizens, foreign students and employees can choose which insurance company they use for the basic health insurance policy. The university also recommends that they take out a liability and repatriation insurance policy. For foreign students for whom the basic healthcare insurance is not compulsory, the university offers a special insurance policy through the AON insurance company, which includes both liability and repatriation. Application forms for this policy are available at the Central Student Desk. It is the students’ own responsibility to ensure that they are correctly insured. / JH

Re:act