Finding your Huisarts (Doctor)
The Dutch word for GP or doctor is ‘huisarts’ which basically translates to ‘house doctor’ however this does not necessarily mean they will visit you at home should you be unwell but most will visit incase of emergencies either after the general working schedule or in special allotted appointment slots.
The easiest way to find a huisart is to look around your local neighborhood, speak with a neighbour or you can find doctors in your area using the website zorgkaartnederland.nl (fill in your postcode in the second text box and click zoek). If you have registered at your local city/town hall ‘Gemeentehuis’ you may also ask for a gemeentegids (a booklet issued by your municipality containing plenty of useful information about services, sports, churches, doctors and schools etc relevant to the town where you will be living.)
You are not obliged to sign up with the huisarts who lives nearest to you and equally the huisarts is not obliged to accept you as a patient however this may not be down to your status as an expat but more the basis that he or she may have to many patients on the practice books, this has been know to happen so don’t be concerned if you find this situation however you can always ask to be notified if a space becomes available for you should the practice be your preferred choice to switch to at a later date. Once you have selected your huisarts you should request a meeting to discuss any important medical care you may need, previous health issues or raise any questions you may have about the practice itself. This is also a good opportunity for both parties to discuss expectations and compatibility.
Health insurance covers the cost of a consultation. Under a contracted care policy (naturapolis), the doctor sends his bill directly to the insurer. Under a non-contracted care policy (restitutiepolis), the doctor bills the patient and the patient declares the costs with the insurer. Please note that it is advisable, under contracted care policies, to check with an insurer which doctors are on its list. This expedites the doctor’s payment and spares the patient administration.
Of course doctors have holidays too, so what happens then? if you find that your huisarts is away on vacation then generally a message will be posted on their webpage as well as the practice voicemail providing you with instructions on which on duty doctor to contact as they will of course be covered by a neighboring huisarts.