Are you an international student living in the Netherlands? Then you are required by Dutch law to take out a public health insurance. If this needs to be a Dutch public health insurance or if the one you have in your home country suffices, depends on a few different factors. If you are required to take out a Dutch health insurance but do not do so in time, you might receive a fine from the CAK (Centraal Administratie Kantoor). In this article we would like to make clear under which circumstances you are required to take out a Dutch health insurance and what steps you should take if you received a fine from the CAK you do not agree with.

Students from EU-countries (+ Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein)

Most European students are insured in their home country. If you decide to study in the Netherlands, you can request a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for your temporary stay in the Netherlands. When you have this card, you have right to medical attention. An EHIC -card however is only sufficient when your stay is for ‘study purposes solely’. When you have a job beside your study or are doing a paid internship your stay isn’t for study purposes solely anymore, this means you will have to take a Dutch insurance.

If you are staying for a period longer than a year this will be marked as a permanent stay, this implies that you will have to take a Dutch insurance. If you can prove that your stay will be shorter than three years however, there is a possibility that the insurance from your home country is sufficient. If this applies on you, we recommend you to contact the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB). They can conclude if you’re obligated or not to take out a public health insurance.

Students from non-EU-countries

If you are from a non-EU-country the insurance from your native country is not valid during your stay in the Netherlands. You need to take out a Dutch public health insurance at all times.

Students who are thirty years or older

For students who are thirty years or older applies the same obligation as for students from non-EU countries. If you are thirty years or older you have to take a Dutch healthcare insurance regardless of your home country and situation.

What if I already received a fine?

In some cases, it’s possible you receive a letter from the CAK that you’re obligated to take out a public health insurance. If you are not insured for a period of three months after you received the first letter from the CAK, you will receive a fine. This fine is determined to an amount of €402,24 in 2019. If you received this fine but think it’s unjustified, you can contact the SVB. At your request the SVB will research if you’re properly insured. If the SVB concludes your insurance is sufficient, you can object to the fine by filling out a form. The form you need to object can be found on the website of the CAK. You can use the decision of the SVB as a supporting document.

However, it’s always important to reply to the letter you received from the CAK, even if you think it’s unjustified. If you namely don’t reply to the letter, the sum of the fine can increase rapidly. In the worst case you can even receive an exhortation.

Are you in a similar situation yourself and would you like to some help? Feel free to contact our legal helpdesk and we’re happy to help you with your case!

written by Jorian Kuipers and Sarah de Jonge