The Dutch healthcare system is one of the best in the world, and it has always been welcoming for expats. However, as US News’ highlight of the stunted vaccine roll-out has shown, there are inefficiencies in the system that can be especially difficult for expats to navigate. This is especially pronounced in non-urgent care.
Building a basic awareness of how the healthcare system operates in the Netherlands, can help expats to find the care they need before their conditions can advance into something more serious
Dentistry is a section of healthcare that is often not included in the healthcare packages of countries with socialized medicine. Teeth simply tend to be more resilient to illness than other areas of the body; it’s often clinically acceptable to wait for care. However, even skipping flossing or not brushing multiple times a day can, and will, bring problems to your door. Dentistry is generally affordable in Haarlem, but you still need to ensure you are covered. As the UK government’s guide for their expats asserts, dentistry is often not covered in the insurance or cover premiums that the Dutch government have mandated for expats – so ensure you have spare capital, or that your insurance does cover the costs of dentistry.
Dentistry coincides with social healthcare programs. When it comes to issues such as quitting smoking, improving mental health and undertaking individual therapies, standard government-approved Dutch insurance will provide cover. According to Expatica, the government considers many of these issues akin to public health concerns; after all, 25% of the population still smoke regularly. Treating these issues is a priority for the government in protecting all-round health. This is good news for anyone who develops an issue while living and working in the country.
Most expats who have valid leave to remain in the Netherlands are able to apply for naturalization after 5 years. With that you’ll stop needing to pay for your healthcare in the same way; however, private insurance is still a legal requirement for most short-term care. Furthermore, there isn’t a huge difference in what is and isn’t covered under international private insurance and what the state provides for through it’s dual-financed system. As a result, naturalization isn’t necessarily a resolving factor in non-emergency care; you’ll need to keep looking at your options.
Accessing the Dutch healthcare system for secondary care is, then, a question of your insurance. If you need care, it can be provided; you’ll just need to ensure that you are covered. Thankfully, the system is fairly wide-reaching, and can be counted on to help rectify a broad range of issues that occur outside of the emergency room.