European Healthcare System – Health Insurance Options for Expats
Most European countries offer high-quality healthcare to their residents irrespective of their economic and social status. The European healthcare system is well-equipped to even compete with the top private health insurance companies. Citizens who can’t afford to purchase insurance coverage are offered government subsidies. All the countries within the European Union also offer a European Health Insurance Card to their citizens. This card offers insurance cover for medical emergencies if a citizen visits any participating country within Europe.
Healthcare Systems in Various Major European Countries
Belgium – Czech Republic – Croatia – Denmark – France – Georgia – Germany – Hungary – Ireland – Italy – Malta – Spain – Poland – Portugal – Russia – United Kingdom – Ukraine – Greece – Sweden – Norway – Slovakia – Finland – Bulgaria – Austria– Estonia– Latvia– Slovenia- The Netherland
Understanding European Healthcare System – Information for Expatriates in Europe
If you are traveling to Europe, you can rest assured that you will have easy access to good healthcare facilities that you usually enjoy at your native place. The best part is the majority of medical professionals in this continent speak English; so, communication shouldn’t be an issue.
Almost all the countries in Europe have a universal healthcare system. There are people who call it a “free healthcare” system but it is actually not free. Each nation has its own variation; however, a common feature is that everyone has to pay for healthcare as a society. This is meant to reduce and spread the overall medical expenses and burden so that the unlucky few don’t go bankrupt while paying for medical services.
This ensures that lower-income Europeans will be able to secure healthcare services, which they otherwise can’t afford. Many expats are not allowed to go onto the local health system for the European country they are staying in OR simply want private and global medical care. Learn more about health in Europe via the EU Public Health Page.
Emergency Assistance in Europe
In the case of a road accident or any life-threatening health problem, you should go to a hospital immediately. You should call an ambulance for serious medical conditions such as car accident injuries or cardiac arrest. European Union’s universal emergency number is 112 and it is common for the ambulance, police, and the fire department. You can also call 911 in certain European countries during emergencies. Ask your hotelier or someone around you to call an ambulance if you can’t do it yourself.
If you have international health insurance, you may not have to shell out a lot of money during a hospital visit. However, medical treatment can be very expensive and will depend on the place you are staying in and the treatment you need. Don’t forget to carry a copy of your medical bill when you return to your native place. You can get it reimbursed by filing a claim. If you have travel insurance cover, you should call up the insurance company immediately and report about your injury or mishap. They would get in touch with the hospital where you are being treated and pay for your medical expenses.
EHIC Information for Expatriates & European Expats
If you are an expatriate living in Europe and plan to move to another country in Europe OR you are planning to move to Europe, you should learn about how the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This card has been the sole healthcare claim document for EU residents.
Healthcare Services for Expats in Europe
If you fall sick during your stay in Europe, you should get the right assistance as soon as possible. For non-emergency situations, your options can include the following:
People in Europe usually go to a pharmacy first for minor ailments instead of visiting a doctor. The pharmacists in Europe have the experience to prescribe medicines for simple health conditions like fever, cold, stomach problems, cough, joint pain, muscle pain, etc. Most of the European cities would have at least three 24-hour pharmacies.
The usage of medicines in Europe may differ from the way it is done in your native country. For instance, in Europe, you may need prescriptions for certain drugs that are easily available over the counter back home. Even the names may be different in many cases.
Europe is home to some of the best clinics & hospitals in the world and you would be surprised by their professionalism and efficiency. You would usually go to a clinic to get treated for non-emergency health issues or if a problem is persistent. Such a visit can be free or you may have to pay a nominal fee. You may have to pay the charges upfront even if you have a health or travel insurance policy. You can again get these bills reimbursed when you return home and file a claim. If you are not in a position to avail this option, you can ask a doctor working in a nearby clinic to come to your hotel room for a fee. This option can be a bit expensive but you won’t have to drag yourself to a clinic to save some money.
Health Insurance for International Citizens in Europe
If you don’t have a European Health Insurance Card or you simply require more comprehensive global healthcare, individuals and families can always consider purchasing a private international medical plan. This will help you bear your healthcare expenses in Europe and other parts of the globe and also back home. Such coverage can also be portable as you may move from one country or region to another. As an international citizen residing in Europe, you can opt for some of the best international health insurance policies including Cigna Global Medical and the Allianz European health plan. Ideally, you should go for an international health insurance plan that suits your budget and makes you feel secure in a European destination.