Health insurance for international students

Students from all over the world are required to have health insurance when they come to study in the Netherlands. This is often a private student health insurance, which doesn’t usually reimburse HIV care costs. Fortunately, there are always ways to make the provision and reimbursement of HIV care costs and medication possible.

In brief:

  • Starting or continuing HIV care important.
  • Access to HIV care possible.
  • Reimbursement of HIV care costs through the CAK.
  • Background information on access to care available.

Standard exclusion

Private health insurance usually excludes healthcare costs for pre-existing conditions. So if the HIV status has already been established before departure to the Netherlands, the costs of HIV care will not be reimbursed. However, insurers can also be difficult if, after an HIV test in the Netherlands, someone tests positive for HIV. They are then expected to pay the costs of care and treatment themselves, or to arrange for the supply of medication from their own country. This is often impossible.

Reimbursement of HIV care costs is always essential because starting or continuing treatment is important for a person's health. Also, when the virus is suppressed, it can no longer be transmitted.

Reimbursement of HIV care costs possible

There are solutions that make reimbursement of HIV care costs possible.

Special group insurance
Cover of HIV care is included in the Complete+ insurance offered by Aon, an intermediary that offers private health insurance to international students. However, this policy is only available as a group and is only offered to students by some educational institutions in the Netherlands.

The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) doesn't want international students to be excluded from HIV care. It points to the possibility of specialised HIV doctors submitting HIV care costs to the CAK-regeling for uninsured people. The CAK-regeling is coordinated by GGD/GHOR (Municipal Health Centre/Medical Assistance in Accidents and Disasters). So there is nothing stopping hospitals providing an HIV positive student with essential medical care and treatment.

Working as well as studying
If your visa allows it, taking a part-time job during your stay in the Netherlands is a solution. The health insurance act makes being insured compulsory and students must take out basic health insurance. This also applies to a zero-hours contract. The health insurer has a duty of acceptance, so must accept an international student with HIV.
As soon as a student has a compulsory basic insurance, he or she can apply for a healthcare allowance.

Students from the EU

A large proportion of the students who come to study in the Netherlands are from the EU. They can use their EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) to obtain healthcare in the Netherlands. This does depend on the conditions and package in their home country. They have to find out from their health insurer about the possibilities of provision and reimbursement of HIV care costs and medication.

If arranging HIV care through the EHIC is not possible, then these students can also look at which of the three previously mentioned solutions (special insurance; CAK; part-time job) could be an answer.

Background information

Contact the Servicepunt (Service Desk) of the HIV Vereniging (Dutch HIV Association) if you have any questions. Call 020 - 689 25 77 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays from 14.00 to 22.00, or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


This information is useful