In an EU/EEA country and Switzerland, your right to healthcare is proven by presenting certifications of entitlement issued by the national social security institution of the country in which you are insured. This is provided for by the Regulations (EC) 883/2004 & 987/2009 for the coordination of the social security systems in the member states. Make sure you fully understand your healthcare rights and the procedures you must follow.
When you are travelling to an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you need to prove your right to treatment with a certification of entitlement in order to access health services on the same terms and conditions of the domestically insured persons in the country you are visiting. Your entitlement applies to the public healthcare system of your host country.
Certificates of entitlement, which can be accepted as proof of your right to healthcare abroad, include the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and the S forms depending on the duration and purpose of your stay. The appropriate certificate of entitlement must be valid at the time you receive treatment.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to medically necessary care in an EU/EEA country and Switzerland if you suddenly become ill, have an accident or need treatment due to a chronic illness or pregnancy or childbirth provided that the purpose of your stay in the country is not the medical care or childbirth. By presenting your EHIC to the public health system, the medically necessary care is provided at the same price and on the same terms as the domestic insured persons in the country you are visiting.
Medically necessary care refers to medical care due to a sudden illness or injury during a temporary stay abroad, such as vacation, business trip, family visits or studies. The necessary medical care is provided so that you don’t have to return home before the end of your scheduled stay. The treatment was by no means the original reason for your move and stay abroad.
How to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in every EE/EEA member state and Switzerland? Find out more here.
In the event that you are unable to receive medically necessary treatment by using your European Health Insurance Card in the public health care system of the country you are visiting, even if the EHIC should be accepted, you can resolve the matter by contacting the SOLVIT service of the European Commission. SOLVIT informs public authorities about the rights of people coming from another EU country and helps in problem situations.
S2 form for planned treatment abroad
As persons insured with an EU-social security system, you have the right to travel to any EU/EEA country or Switzerland for the purpose of accessing health care, which is referred to as planned healthcare (Article 20 of Regulation (EC) 883/2004). You always need prior authorization for planned healthcare.
With the approval of the competent statutory health insurance service, the form S2 will be issued. S2 form entitles you to receive treatment abroad on the same terms and at the same cost as those insured in the public health system of the state of treatment. Your statutory health insurance service will assume the costs for the treatment abroad according to the tariffs in force in the country of treatment.
S1 form for permanent residence
If you move to another EU/ΕΕΑ country or Switzerland and a country other than your country of residence is responsible for your medical expenses, the social security authorities will use forms to register your affiliation with the public health system of the country of residence. The presentation of an S1 form confirms that your country of residence can bill the country that issued the form for your medical expenses on the same terms and conditions as the domestic insured persons.