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Updated : 14/01/2014



Healthcare while studying abroad

If you are an EU citizen going to study in another EU country, check with the health insurance in your home country whether they will cover the cost of your healthcare abroad for the full duration of your studies.

Some national health insurers will only cover the costs of your healthcare in another country for a limited time.  If this is the case for you, you will need to register for state healthcare in the country where you are studying or to take up private sickness insurance.

As long as your home health insurance covers you during your studies abroad, you will need to have a valid European Health Insurance Card with you to receive medical help from local doctors, and to claim for reimbursement of any costs.

All E111 and E128 forms are now invalid. You now need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card.

Be prepared for differences with your own national system: in some countries, for example, payment upfront is required at the doctor’s, whereas you may be used to a system in which no money changes hands.

European Health Insurance Card

You can get a European Health Insurance Card from the health insurance body with which you are insured, or where your parents or spouse are insured if you are their dependent.

You must obtain your European Health Insurance Card before you leave for your studies abroad.

Older students and workers

The costs of your healthcare will sometimes not be covered by the sickness-insurance institution of your country of origin during your studies abroad:

  • This is often the case if you are older than 28 or 30.
  • It is also likely that some PhD students may be considered resident workers, rather than students, depending on the source of their funding.

In such case, you will be required to take out private health insurance, or to subscribe to the national health service of your host country.

Sample story

Brief yourself on local social security rules

Wim is a Belgian national who went to the Netherlands for a university degree. He took a valid European Health Insurance Card with him. Wim planned to work part-time during his studies. However, in the Netherlands, it is obligatory to take out the national basic healthcare insurance, costing around € 1,100 a year, if one has a job there – even if one already has a valid European Health Insurance Card. The cost of basic healthcare insurance made working a more costly option than Wim had anticipated.

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In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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