Healthcare in the country where you live
If you receive a pension from the country where you live, you and your family are automatically covered by that country’s healthcare insurance system. It makes no difference whether or not 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, two situations are possible:
* if you receive a pension from just one other EU country, you belong to that country’s health insurance system
* if you receive a pension from more than one other country, you belong to the healthcare insurance system of the country where you were insured for the longest period of time.
In either case, you need to apply for a S1 form (former E 121 form) – entitlement to healthcare during residence outside the country where you are insured. You can get this from the health insurance authority in the country whose healthcare insurance system you belong to. You should then give the form to the health insurance authority in the country where you go to live.
Healthcare in the country where you used to work
You are entitled to a health insurance card – and so to full healthcare – both in the country where you were insured for the longest period of time and the country where you now live, if they are different countries. However, this applies only if the country where you were insured for the longest period of time is Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain or Sweden.
Former cross-border workers
If you last worked as a cross-border worker:
* you can continue to receive any long-term treatment that began in the country where you used to work. This possibility also exists for your dependants if their treatment began in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia or Slovenia (As of 1 May 2014, this will also be possible for treatment begun in Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Spain.).
* if you worked at least 2 years as a cross-border worker during the 5 years preceding retirement, you are entitled to healthcare both in your country of residence and in the country where you used to work. In principle, this is also applicable to your dependants. This possibility however only exists if the country where you now live and your former country of employment are both in this group of countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxemburg, Portugal and Spain.
* if you want a health insurance card both in your country of residence and in the country where you used to work, you should register with a S3 document in the country where you used to work.
If you travel outside the country you live in…
… you will be covered for medical treatment which becomes necessary during your stay only in other EU countries – with your European health insurance card.
Under certain conditions, you can also travel to another country to get medical treatment there. Have a look at the numerous possibilities for treatment abroad (patient mobility) in Europe.
Differences in entitlements and conditions
EU countries are free to make their own rules on entitlement to benefits and services. So, if you apply for home care in the country where you now live, you probably won’t be entitled to exactly the same services as in your country of origin.
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.