Medical care for travelers in the Netherlands?
May 30, 2008 4:59 PM   Subscribe

My friend is going on a 2-week vacation in the Netherlands starting tomorrow night. Her brother did something to his knee a couple of days ago and they're worried that it'll need more medical attention later. What's medical care like for tourists in the Netherlands?

To my knowledge, they haven't gotten any kind of travelers' insurance for the trip. They have relatives (cousins, uncles, etc) in Amsterdam and will have some money with them, but not loads and loads of cash to spare. They have BCBS health insurance in the US.
posted by rivenwanderer to Travel & Transportation around The Netherlands (5 answers total)
It probably depends a lot on your particular plan. When I went to France for 6 month, my dad's BCBS of RI plan covered me for the duration, but in order to get a visa, this had to be documented. (Never used it because my only doctor visit was like 40€) You will probably have to pay up front and get reimbursed by your insurer, but the only way to be sure is to contact them.
posted by mkb at 7:03 PM on May 30, 2008

A clinic visit and prescriptions are quite cheap, I found when my wife needed to see a doctor during a visit there about 10 years ago. If he needs more than that, like X rays, it might be worth calling BCBS from over there to make sure it's covered. Then again, if he's good enough to travel, it can probably wait until he gets back.
posted by beagle at 7:19 PM on May 30, 2008

My husband is Dutch, and we regularly visit his family there. Last year, my parents came with us. During our stay, my father became extremely ill. At first, after his cold became quite severe, we took him to a Dutch clinic to see a doctor. AFAIK, we didn't have to pay anything for this service. The doctor was very nice, diagnosed him with pneumonia, and sent him to the pharmacy to pick up some pills. It was a quick trip and relatively inexpensive to get the Rx filled.

Unfortunately, despite the new course of treatment, my father's condition deteriorated. It got so bad we had to call an ambulance to the hotel. They arrived within 10 minutes and were very helpful. The treatment we received at the hospital cannot be compared with an American hospital. We were brought to see the doctor treating my father almost immediately after we arrived at the hospital. He explained the situation very thoroughly, and we felt very comfortable with his care. English was not a barrier at all, and most Dutch people (it's less common with the elderly, like my hubsand's grandparents) do speak at least some English. Overall, I would rate the treatment my father got at the Dutch hospital as fantastic. The nurses were diligent and kind, the doctor took plenty of time to explain his condition (ARDS - acute respiratory distress syndrome had developed. It was pretty serious).

Ultimately, my father spent 2-3 weeks past the time he was supposed to fly home at the Dutch hospital. My mother could only stay part of that time, but even with just the Dutch relatives visiting he reported excellent care. They did have both travel insurance and American health insurance. The American insurance company LOVED the fact that he was being treated at a European hospital with socialized healthcare because the cost was very low to them. The travel insurance wound up being very handy. They did cover the ambulance ride and other assorted costs of the trip -- rescheduling the flight home, for example. The American health insurance company picked up the rest because it was such a low amount. I think they charged the insurance company like $5000, which if you have ever needed to go to an American hospital, you know is a ridiculously low sum of money for 2-3 weeks in ICU. The Dutch government picked up the rest of the tab, even though my father was not even a citizen.

This is a lengthy reply, but the gist of my post is that you shouldn't be worried about needing medical attention in the Netherlands. The cost won't be prohibitive and communication, largely, isn't a problem. Go and have fun! This is a wonderful time of year to be in Holland!
posted by theantikitty at 8:03 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is across-the board for all EU countries, but when I was treated for a broken toe in Paris I had to pay up front.
posted by brujita at 10:17 PM on May 30, 2008

It depends. The Netherlands has reciprocal health arrangements with several countries which means that you are covered as if you were at home. I am not sure if the US is one of those.

Foolish of them not to get travellers insurance for an international trip - hopefully nothing will happen but they will make sure to get insured next time. Better safe than sorry!

Hope they have a good trip, weather's getting better every day!
posted by wingless_angel at 5:57 AM on May 31, 2008

« Older Autofocus on a new camera   |   Kid friendly Australian music Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.