Service tools

Language selector

EU flag

Navigation path

Menu

Last checked : 02/05/2018

Your health insurance cover

UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information

For the time being, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK:

In the EU, the country responsible for your social security and your health cover depends on your economic status and your place of residence – not your nationality. Make sure you understand under which country's social security system should cover you. Find out more about social security cover abroad.

If you're unsure about your rights and want to check before you get treatment, contact a National Contact Point for healthcare. There's at least one in each EU country, and they can tell you whether you will be entitled to reimbursement, and if there are any ceilings to the amount you can be reimbursed.

Special conditions apply to healthcare coverage if you are:

Working in one country, living in another

If you work in one EU country and live in another, you are entitled to medical treatment in both countries.

Make sure you register in the country where you work and get an S1 form (former E106 form) from your health insurance authority. This form gives you the right to get healthcare in the country where you live.

Based on your insurance, your family members are also entitled to medical treatment if they live in an EU country. However, if you are a cross-border commuter, living in one EU country and working in Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Iceland or Norway, your family is only entitled to medical treatment there in limited situations, such as for emergency treatment during their stay.

Caring for sick children

As a cross-border commuter, check with your health insurance authority if you take time off work to look after your sick child. If your child is insured together with your partner in the country where you live you might not be entitled to benefits.

Posted abroad on a short assignment (less than 2 years)

As a worker posted abroad on a short assignment (less than 2 years) you can stay insured in your home country (the country from which you have been posted).

Make sure you request an S1 form (former E106 form) from your healthcare authority in your home country. This will entitle you and your family to healthcare during your stay.

When you arrive in the country where you'll be working, give your S1 form to the healthcare authority.

A civil servant seconded abroad

If you are a civil servant seconded abroad, you are entitled to medical treatment in the country where you live.

You should request an S1 form (former E106 form) from your health insurance authority in the country which you'll be working. This will entitle you and your family to healthcare during your stay.

When you arrive in the country where you'll be working, give your S1 form to the healthcare authority.

A student, researcher or trainee abroad

If you go to another EU country for your studies, research work, a work placement or vocational training, you must have comprehensive health insurance in your host country.

  • If you are not employed, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) could be an option, if you are eligible.
  • If you are employed in your host country, you will need to subscribe to a local healthcare scheme there.

    Some PhD students may be considered resident workers and can be required to subscribe to the local healthcare scheme or take out private health insurance.

  • If you are sent for a temporary period to a university or research institution in another EU country by your university or research institute of origin, then you will remain under your home healthcare scheme for the time you are posted. Before leaving, you should apply for the EHIC card, or for an S1 form (former E106 form).

Check with your health insurance provider or with the National Contact Point in your home country whether they will cover the cost of your healthcare abroad for the full duration of your stay. If they do, administrative procedures can be simpler if you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Howeverm some national health insurers will however only cover the costs of your healthcare in another EU country for a limited time. This is often the case for mature students (older than 28 or 30) and workers on training abroad. If this is the case for you, you will need to register for state healthcare in your host country or to take out private health insurance.

Sample story

Find out about social security rules in the country where you'll be staying

Wim, a Belgian citizen, went to the Netherlands for his university degree. He took his European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with him. Wim wanted to work part-time during his studies. However, he discovered that in the Netherlands anyone who has a job there has to take out the national basic healthcare insurance, which costs around EUR 1,100 a year. This also applies to people who already have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from another country. The cost of basic healthcare insurance made working part-time more costly than Wim had anticipated.

A pensioner

Healthcare in the country where you live

  • If you receive a pension from the country where you live: you and your family are covered by that country's health insurance system — even if you are also receiving pensions from other countries.
  • If you do not receive a pension or any other income from the country where you live: you and your family will receive medical treatment in the country where you live if you would be entitled to medical treatment in the country that pays your pension.

Sample story

Make sure you know which healthcare system covers you

Nicolas lived in France and worked there for most of his career, except for a few years he spent in Italy working as a waiter when he was younger.

When Nicolas retired, he moved to Italy. His pension is therefore made up of 2 parts: an Italian pension reflecting the years he worked in Italy and a French pension for the years he worked in France.

As Nicolas lives in Italy AND receives an old age pension from Italy, Italy will cover his healthcare expenses. He is no longer part of the French system.

You should request an S1 form (former E106 form) from your health insurance provider in the country you are moving from.

When you arrive in your new country, give your S1 form to the relevant authority. This document establishes your right to full healthcare coverage in your country of residence.

Healthcare in the country where you used to work

In principle, you and your family are only fully entitled to medical treatment in the country where you live. However, if the country which pays your pension is one of the following, you and your family members are entitled tomedical treatment both in the country which pays your pension and in the country where you now live:

 

Austria

Germany

Netherlands

Belgium

Greece

Poland

Bulgaria

Hungary

Slovenia

Cyprus

Iceland

Spain

Czech Republic

Liechtenstein

Sweden

France

Luxembourg

Switzerland

If you paid contributions in a country which is not in the list above, you will only be entitled to complete healthcare coverage in the country where you now live.

Retired cross-border commuters

If your most recent job was as a cross-border commuter – meaning you lived in one country but commuted to work in another – and you retired because of old age or invalidity, the following applies:

Continuation of a treatment

You can continue to receive a treatment that started in the country where you used to work even after you have retired.

This also applies to your dependants if their treatment began in:

 

Austria

Greece

Netherlands

Belgium

Hungary

Poland

Bulgaria

Italy

Portugal

Cyprus

Latvia

Romania

Czech Republic

Liechtenstein

Slovakia

Estonia

Lithuania

Slovenia

France

Luxembourg

Spain

Germany

Malta

Switzerland

To continue receiving a treatment that started in the country where you used to work, you must submit an S3 form to the health authorities in that country.

Coverage in the country where you used to work and in the country where you live

If you worked as a cross-border worker for at least 2 years during the 5 years prior to your retirement, you are entitled to healthcare both in the country where you live and in the country where you used to work.

Both you and your dependants are entitled to healthcare in the country where you previously worked if both this country and the country where you now live are in this group:

 

Austria

Germany

Spain

Belgium

Luxembourg

France

Portugal

If you travel to the country where you used to work to access medical treatment there, and the authorities in that country are no longer responsible for your healthcare costs, you must submit an S3 form to them. You can get an S3 form from the healthcare authority responsible for your healthcare cover.

Looking for a job

If you're receiving unemployment benefits from one EU country and decide to move to another EU country to look for a job, you should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for yourself and your family members before moving abroad. However, the EHIC will only allow you and your family to access necessary medical treatment (e.g. emergency treatment) during the period you are receiving unemployment benefits.

If you're not insured in any EU country and decide to move to another EU country to look for a job, the social security institutions will decide which system will cover you and you'll probably need to be covered for healthcare in the country you move to.

Find out more about social security cover abroad.

National healthcare systems differ greatly within Europe

EU countries are free to establish their own rules on entitlement to benefits and services.

To avoid potentially serious problems and misunderstandings, find out about the social security system in your host country or contact your National Contact Point.

Sample story

Get to know the social security system of your new country

Susanne always worked in Germany and moved to Spain when she retired. When she became ill, she was assisted by a home-care service from a private company, as there is no public home-care insurance in Spain.

Her German home-care insurance paid part of the costs, but Susanne's share of the costs was much higher than it would have been if she had stayed in Germany. This was due to the differences between the German and the Spanish benefits systems.

Differences in assessing incapacity level

If you claim an invalidity pension or incapacity benefit, each country you have worked in could insist on examining you separately. One country might assess you as seriously incapacitated, while another country may not consider you incapacitated at all.

Find out more about invalidity pensions in Europe.

See also:

Public consultations
    Need support from assistance services?
    Get help and advice