The healthcare system in the Netherlands is one of the best in the world. It used to be based on two types of medical insurance, one that is mandatory and one that is private and optional; however the private sector has been developing and is opening up to competition.
Indeed, following the introduction of a major reform in 2006, Dutch citizens are now covered by a basic mandatory medical insurance which is administered by private insurers.
Visiting a doctor in Netherlands
In the Netherlands, the family doctor (or ‘huisarts’) is at the center of the healthcare system. If the patient requires specific medical care, their family doctor will refer them to a specialist and will follow-up with their treatment. Except in the event of an emergency, you will have to contact your treating doctor in order to receive medical care in a hospital.
Being admitted to hospital in Netherlands
As in most countries of Western Europe, hospitals maintain quality equipment. Also, most doctors speak English. Hospitalization fees are free provided that you are able to show your treating doctor’s approval. If you don’t have this approval, you can show your EHIC in order to receive the reimbursement of your medical care.
In order to be referred to the most appropriate medical facility for your medical needs, it is advised to use your health insurance plan’s medical network.
Buying medication in Netherlands
There are two types of pharmacies in the Netherlands: one that only distributes prescription drugs (Apotheek) and one where over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceutical products are sold (Drogist). Pharmacies usually open from Monday to Saturday, between 9 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.
You may find medication under a different brand name than that available in your home country and it may also be more expensive, which is why it is recommended to bring a sufficient quantity of medication with you for the duration of your stay, in particular if you are under a specific treatment.
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Rachel lives in Togo and has been with MSH since 2002. After routine surgery, she fell into a coma that lasted 2 months. Her hospitalization cost more than 200,000 euros - but it was all covered by MSH, without her having to get involved. Thanks to the reactivity of the team and their smooth handling of the situation, Rachel's family were able to avoid any extra stress - as was Rachel when she woke up.
Laure and Robert moved to Singapore in 2014 for work - but they ended up starting a family there too! She told MSH that she was pregnant and was amazed by all the support she got. First she received a practical guide on pregnancy (what to do at each stage, medical exams etc.) and then a member of the team called her to explain all her guarantees personally and advise her on the best place to give birth. The day her daughter was born, a gift pack arrived with a growth chart and a baby toy, with all good wishes from MSH. And now there's another one on the way...
Matthieu was hiking in a canyon in Peru when he accidently fell down several meters and fractured his kneecap and elbow: "After 12 days in a local hospital, I was sent back to France where I spent 2 more weeks in hospital and months in physiotherapy" he remembers. Matthieu's hospitalization, repatriation and rehabilitation expenses were all covered by MSH: "Without my private health insurance, it would have been a nightmare: €16,000 for the hospital and €50,000 for my repatriation with two air ambulances - can you imagine?"