Health insurance letters (CAK)

What is the CAK letter?

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? Because 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, explained below, and you must do so within 3 months. Otherwise you will get a fine from the CAK.

Showing that you are exempt

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 do this by requesting an “Assessment of your Wlz Insurance Position” via the SVB. A good estimate is that you will need to have the Wlz form filled out and sent back by the 9th of November of that year at the latest, so have it ready by then!
  2. There are two ways to get the assessment; both can be found through the following link.
    1. You can print out and fill in the form by clicking the link above, and going 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.
    2. Request an online assessment. This is only possible if you have a DigiD. You can go through the request online by also clicking the link above; again, under ‘Submitting an application for yourself’ you will find the online application option.
  3. If you chose to print the form, you have to send it to SVB, Postbus 18607, 3501 CR Utrecht. Don’t forget to include a copy of your certificate of enrollment (which you can get from the SSC). Also, remember to put a stamp on the envelope! Stamps can be bought at most supermarkets or bookstores.
  4. 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.

Lots 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. Please follow the steps below to save yourself a lot of hassle!

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