Healthcare Abroad in Europe

Information on social security coordination between EU member states for obtaining medical coverage and planned health care...

European Union social security coordination enhances cooperation between member countries, and reduces the number of documents needed.

Note: This page discusses the forms needed by state pensioners relocating to another EU member state, family members of a person working abroad or when a person of any age lives in one EU country but is insured in another (e.g. cross-border workers). It is also for anyone planning a trip to a member state for the express purpose of medical treatment. This page is not aimed at EU residents who unexpectedly fall ill while travelling temporarily within the European Union. In this situation medical care can be accessed by holders of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Types of forms

Form S2 is for planned medical treatment, form S1 is used to register for health care.

Form S1: Registration for Health Care Cover

A person living in one EU country, insured in another, can register for health care cover with the S1 form. This applies to pensioners retiring abroad, as well as families of a person working abroad. An S1 form is available from your current health coverage provider.

Form S2: Planned Medical Treatment

EU-residents are entitled to planned medical treatment in another member country. In order to benefit from European health insurance agreements, the document S2 (ex-form E112), must be obtained from the health insurance institution of the country of residence. Coverage may vary depending on the type of treatment sought and the country in which it is to be received. Health authorities can clarify which costs will be covered. However in principle, costs are only covered for treatments recognised in the country of residence.

Hospital treatment

Hospital treatment in another EU country requires prior-authorisation from the health authorities of the country of residence. The cost of the treatment is covered under the terms of the country of treatment. In some countries, this means that some of the treatment has to be paid upfront by the patient, a cost that is reimbursed later (except in Switzerland).

Without prior authorisation, there is no guarantee that the cost for hospital care will be met.

Non-hospital treatment

Non-hospital treatment is possible with or without authorisation.

  • Treatment without authorisation: The patient meets the costs themselves and may obtain reimbursement later, on the basis of the rules in the country where they are covered for health care. If the treatment costs more in the country of treatment than in the country of residence, it is up to the patient to pay the difference
  • Treatment with authorisation: The costs of the treatment are met, with additional reimbursement if applicable. In the case of Switzerland this option is not available
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