Health insurance letters (CAK)

When it comes to health insurance, the default rule in the Netherlands is that everyone needs to be insured with a Dutch provider. However, if you have not taken out Dutch health insurance, then you may receive a letter from the CAK (the envelope looks like this, and here is an English translation). The letter is a reminder that you are not properly insured, and that you should take steps to fix this immediately. So what do you do?

How to deal with the CAK letter

Depending on certain factors (where you’re from, how old you are, whether you have a job in NL), you may or may not actually need Dutch health insurance. In fact, in most cases, international students will not need to take out any additional insurance to study in the Netherlands. Read our health insurance page to find out what applies to your situation.

This is somewhat confusing. If you’re a student that isn’t breaking any rules by not taking out Dutch health insurance, then why are you still receiving this letter? The CAK does not distinguish between those who legally or illegally are without Dutch insurance.

If you’ve checked and made sure that you don’t need Dutch insurance, then you need to show the CAK that you are exempt from the requirement to be insured with a Dutch provider. There are two ways to do this. You must do so within three (3) months. Otherwise you will get a hefty fine from the CAK of about €400.

How do I show I am exempt from Dutch health insurance?

The first thing you can do is avoid receiving the CAK letter in the first place. Otherwise, if you do end up receiving the CAK letter, you will have to mail them back with proof that you are exempt.

The steps for both options are:

  1. You need to prove that you are exempt from the requirement to take out Dutch health insurance. You can do this by requesting an “Assessment of your Wlz Insurance Position” via the SVB. You should have the Wlz form filled out and sent back by the 9th of November of that year at the latest!
  2. There are two ways to get the assessment; both can be found through the following link.

Option 1: Printing and mailing the form

  •       go to ‘Submitting an application for yourself’
  •       download the file under the heading ‘Sending a form by post’ 
  •       Make sure that for question 5, “Reason for the application”, you tick the last option that says you have received a letter from the CAK for not having insurance.
  •       Send the form to SVB, Postbus 18607, 3501 CR Utrecht. Don’t forget to include a copy of your certificate of enrolment (which you can get from the SSC). Also, remember to put a stamp on the envelope! 

Option 2: Online assessment (only possible if you have a DigiD)

  •       go through the request online by clicking the link above
  •       click ‘Submitting an application for yourself’ 
  •       click ‘Online application’ 
  •       fill in the form online

After 2 to 3 months you will receive a letter from the SVB either confirming that you do not need Dutch health insurance, or telling you that you must take out Dutch health insurance. 

Scroll down for a step-by-step guidance document to help you apply!

What happens if I ignore the letter?

Once the CAK letter arrives, you will only have 3 months to fill out and send off the form, otherwise you will have to pay a fine of approximately €400. After this fine, another letter arrives, and you again have 3 months to send off the form and prove you don’t need Dutch health insurance. If you fail to do this again, the fine is doubled to over €800! This means it is much easier to send them the form now and not have to worry about any fines.

A lot of students don’t read the CAK letter or don’t receive the letter because they didn’t notify the municipality about a new address. This does not mean that the fines disappear, they just keep doubling every 3 months.


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