ZiN promises: no more confusing letters

Zorginstituut Nederland is going to make changes, so EU students will no longer be wrongly fined for not having Dutch health insurance.

Currently, EU university students who enroll at the municipality, are not registered at DUO (financial aid body) and do not have proof from SVB (group that checks if someone is exempt from Dutch health insurance requirements) get the letters from ZiN. Roughly 2,000 students receive the letter each year. But change is on the way, says Rene Langenberg from Zorginstituut Nederland.

‘We are going to try to filter out young uninsured people between the ages of 18 and 25 who have never been in the Netherlands prior to now’, Langenberg says. ‘We expect that to cover a sizable portion of the students.’

Working link

ZiN hopes that SVB can arrange this by March of 2015. It should prevent most students from getting the letters at all and, more importantly, make it less likely that people will get them during the summer vacation.

However, ZiN will go on cross referencing the list of municipality registrations. If someone is not listed as exempt by SVB and remains uninsured four months after their municipality registration, they will still get the letter.

When they do get it, two short sentences in English and a link that actually works will guide students to a translation of the letter. Langenberg says that ZiN figured out a couple of days ago that the current link doesn’t work.

Circumvent the cycle

EU students can circumvent the cycle when they get in touch with SVB as soon as they arrive. ‘My request is that universities and colleges of applied science inform the students when they enroll and during introduction events that they need to have their insurance status checked’, says Langenberg.

He is aware of the fact that sending the letter in Dutch is confusing to internationals. However, ZiN is legally required to send out its letters in Dutch. But when you fill out the contact form on ZiN’s site in English, you will get a response in English as well.

Adding information in English on the website is not necessary, Langenberg says. ‘There’s just not enough students impacted to justify the expense of making a translation.’