International Student Front Desk to the Rescue!
Issues with "wrong bills" for un-required national health insurance resolved.
The front desk at WUAS assists students with many aspects of their stay in the Netherlands – from now the international students front desks have been asked to be especially alert to ensuring students maintain their exemption from a national health insurance, and react on time if they are mistakenly billed for one!
Dutch bureaucratic systems surrounding health insurance have meant that in the past year many students have been sent final demands for additional national insurance, that in fact they don’t need to pay – and to make sure that they have the bill annulled, students are required to send a protest letter within three months – to avoid being “fined”.
In principle, all international students in the Netherlands are exempt from national health insurance premiums, as they are generally insured in their home countries or through a special international student health tax, however only students known to the government through registration with the agency DUO are automatically exempted.
Dutch Minister of Health Welfare and Sport, Edith Schippers, said in an answer to questions in parliament, that there could be no exceptions to the rule and that the bureaucratic processes would have to remain in place. She made clear that it is the duty of the student to ensure that the health insurance authorities know that a student is an international student.
She went on to say that she would also not be able to make an exception for students who have a part-time job, - in that case a Dutch national health insurance is required.
WUAS international students generally have more benefits from these regulations than obstacles, as it also allows them to claim back much of the health insurance costs, as they have less than the minimum income level, and they can receive benefit on student housing rent (huursubsidy), if they are living in the appropriate type of student accommodation!
Whilst the complicated insurance and taxation system in the Netherlands is understandable to Dutch people who have grown up “using the system”, regulations such as the so-called SvB insurance are not widely understood by international students, and good international student front desk assistance is an essential part of providing students with an untroubled stay in the Netherlands.