Health insurance letters (CAK)

The Dutch healthcare system is based on insurance. It is very important that you are insured or you know whether or not you need Dutch public health insurance, because you can get a large fine if you’re wrong. You can use this flow chart, created by the ISH, to see if you need to take out Dutch health insurance. If you are not insured yet, then look at our page on health insurance options to find the best choice for you.

Some people don’t need to be insured because they aren’t working next to their studies, and they are an EU citizen. However, because Dutch law states that everyone needs health insurance, you need to prove that you are exempt. This is very easy to do, and there are steps at the bottom of this page.

If you don’t do this, then an organisation called the CAK will send you a letter asking you to prove that you don’t need Dutch public health insurance. The envelope looks like this, and here is an English translation of the CAK letter.

You can preempt receiving the letter by following the steps listed at the bottom of the page. This will avoid you ever having to pay the fine.

A great resource for more information is the CAK website itself. It gives a great overview of main topics, as well as tips and useful websites for finding and choosing your health insurance.

What happens if I ignore the letter?

Once this 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 €410.49. 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 euros! 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!

How to deal with a CAK letter

  1. The CAK has sent you a letter asking if you have Dutch health insurance. You do not need this insurance, but you do need to prove that you are exempt. 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 enrolment (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!

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