Precisely what insurance do I need to buy, and what procedures do I need to follow? As an international student, I cannot buy into basic health insurance until I get at least a part-time job. I'm facing quite confusing advice during my research: Some say you can get it just by paying a small fee with no insurance needed, some say you will need private insurance from something like Cigna Global, some say the US prescription won't work and you'll need to get re-diagnosed, some say it will.

Is there a single place to find this information? It would be immensly helpful if it was in English, but I don't mind if it is in Dutch.


I have never tried to get a US prescription filled in the Netherlands, but I would be very surprised if it would work. The prescribing doctor is not licensed to practice medicine in the Netherlands, after all.

However, you do not need to be insured to visit a doctor or buy prescription medicine in the Netherlands. I have done both (albeit some time ago). When they asked for my insurance, I said that my insurance was in the US and that I would pay cash and make the claim myself. I said that mainly because I did not want to listen to a lecture about the need for having health insurance; I don't think they would have refused to treat me if I had said that I was uninsured.

The cost of the office visit was probably 10% or less than I would have expected in the US. The cost of the medicine was also lower than in the US, but not by such a significant factor.

As to the insurance, you can buy US insurance that offers international coverage, though I can't imagine that that would be cost effective. Unfortunately, I don't know enough about getting insured in the Netherlands to know how you would go about buying insurance there or what you would need to buy, but my sense is that this would be the more reasonable option.

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