All residents are entitled to health insurance in Luxembourg, but many expats take out additional private health insurance. We explain the pros and cons.When moving to Luxembourg, it is important to get your head around how the healthcare system works. More importantly, it pays to know the costs you will need to contribute from your salary and what proportion of your medical fees you will be able to claim back after getting treatment. It is also useful to know whether you will need to take out private health insurance, or whether state health insurance in Luxembourg is sufficient. This helpful guide, provided by international health insurance provider Cigna Global, offers information on the following:
- The healthcare system and health insurance in Luxembourg
- Who needs health insurance in Luxembourg?
- Public health insurance in Luxembourg
- How to apply for public health insurance
- Private health insurance in Luxembourg
- Health insurance costs and reimbursements
- Health insurance for unemployed or low earners
- Useful resources
Cigna Global provides comprehensive health insurance to over 86 million customers in over 200 countries. They have a wide access to trusted hospitals, clinics and doctors and provide expats with help on tailoring a plan to suit your individual healthcare needs.
The healthcare system and health insurance in LuxembourgLuxembourg’s healthcare system is one of the best quality and best funded in Europe; the government spends around 6% of GDP on healthcare. Basic health coverage is available to all citizens of Luxembourg, with employees and employers both making contributions towards medical costs. Public health insurance covers more than 90% of healthcare services. However, many expats seek to take out additional private insurance policies to cover the portion of medical fees not covered by the state. Unlike many of its neighbors, Luxembourg doesn’t have specialist public and private hospitals. Instead, all hospitals are managed by the Caisse Nationale de Santé (CNS), and citizens can choose their own doctor, specialist, and hospital.
Who needs health insurance in Luxembourg?All employees and self-employed workers in Luxembourg are required to make social security contributions, which in turn entitles them to state healthcare. Healthcare taxes come out of wages at source, and employees and employers split the cost. The tax goes into the Luxembourg Health Offices of the CNS, or the Caisse de Maladie – which literally means ‘disease fund’. The normal contribution amounts to about 2.8% of gross income from each side, up to a maximum contribution of €6,225. If you are starting work in Luxembourg, your employer must register you within eight days of starting work.
Public health insurance in LuxembourgIn Luxembourg, the healthcare system works on a reimbursement basis. Patients pay upfront and then submit receipts for consultations, treatment, and medicines for reimbursement. The amount of reimbursement depends on the type of treatment and whether you have a private insurance plan.
Who does public health insurance cover?
- Employees: employees contribute to the state system through social security payments taken from their wages. This offers them access to the healthcare system.
- Self-employed, freelancers, and business owners: self-employed workers have to pay the full percentage contribution; however, the amount varies based on profession and income.
- Unemployed people: residents on unemployment benefits, retirement, or disability pensions have health insurance contributions deducted from their benefit payments.
- Spouses and children: all dependent family members are covered by family members who pay into the insurance system. Children are covered under their parents, and students are covered until the age of 27. Coverage includes most treatment by your general practitioner or specialists, any laboratory tests, prescriptions, and hospitalisation. Read more in our Guide to the healthcare system in Luxembourg.
Students and the elderly
- Students: EU nationals studying in Luxembourg will be covered by their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) throughout their period of study. Non-EU students, however, may be required to take out a private health insurance plan prior to arrival; although their university can provide more detail. Students and unemployed adults under the age of 30 may apply for continued health insurance on the University of Luxembourg website.
- Pensioners/retirees: EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who have reached retirement age in their home country are entitled to free healthcare in Luxembourg; as long as their pensions are in order to receive it. A long-term insurance fund (Dépendence) is financed through a 1% tax withholding for employees; this also provides benefits towards the costs of long-term care in nursing homes or other extended care.
- EU/EFTA nationals: EU nationals making social security contributions have the same rights as permanent residents.
- Non-EU nationals: non-EU/EEA nationals may have to provide proof of private health cover before they can obtain a visa. Foreigners coming to live in Luxembourg without working must produce proof of health insurance in order to obtain a residence permit. If you qualify for ‘non-resident’ tax status, you may not be required to contribute to national social security. In this case, you will probably be covered by your employer’s healthcare plan.
What does public health insurance cover in Luxembourg?Doctors appointments, hospital visits, and emergency treatment are all available through the public healthcare system, as follows:
- Doctors and dentist appointments: adults can usually claim back 88% of their costs (100% for children), or 80% for GP visits at home.
- Hospital stays: you will usually need to pay a standard daily fee of €21.99; you can claim back other costs. This fee, however, does not apply to children or mothers within 12 days of giving birth.
- The standard rate of 80% is available on most medicines; however, the preferential rate of 100% is available for medicines that are designed to combat serious or chronic illnesses.
- A reduced reimbursement rate of 40% applies on non-essential medicines such as therapeutic treatments.
- EU citizens presenting an EHIC card usually pay 50%; meanwhile pensioners pay 10%.