Home Healthcare Healthcare Basics A guide to the healthcare system in Luxembourg
Last update on November 25, 2019

Whether you want to find a doctor or see a specialist, this helpful guide provides you with essential information on the healthcare system in Luxembourg.

All residents have access to the free public healthcare system in Luxembourg. There is an abundance of medical and emergency facilities available in the country and nearby in bordering countries.

This helpful article, provided by Cigna Global, offers information about healthcare in Luxembourg, and includes sections on:

Cigna Global

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.

Overview of healthcare in Luxembourg

The healthcare system in Luxembourg

The healthcare system in Luxembourg is one of the best in Europe. The country has a high standard of state-funded healthcare which covers all citizens with basic medical coverage. In addition, they can choose their doctor, specialist, and hospital.

Employed citizens in Luxembourg make health insurance contributions via payments to Luxembourg’s social security system. Coverage includes most treatment by your general practitioner or specialists, any laboratory tests, prescriptions, and hospitalization.

Healthcare in Luxembourg is administered by the Ministry of Health which is responsible for policy, regulation, and overseeing services. The country is ranked 7th on the 2018 Euro Health Consumer Index. Its healthcare system has been praised for its comprehensive level of coverage. However, it has also been acknowledged that a significant proportion of residents seek certain treatments, for example abortions, in neighboring EU countries.

Who can access healthcare in Luxembourg?

All residents have access to the state healthcare system in Luxembourg. Employed and self-employed workers are required to make social security contributions to access healthcare services. If you are employed, healthcare contributions will be automatically taken out of your wages by your employer. All dependent family members will also have coverage through workers who pay social security. Children have coverage under their parents, and students have coverage until the age of 27.

Those unable to make contributions due to lack of income or low earnings can get basic medical treatment covered by the state. To apply for this, you need to contact your local social welfare office. More information can be found on the government’s social welfare website.

Temporary visitors to Luxembourg from the EU/EEA/Switzerland can receive healthcare through their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Those without a EHIC and visitors from outside the EU will need to purchase private health insurance.

Healthcare costs in Luxembourg

The majority of funding for healthcare in Luxembourg comes from health insurance payments made through social security payments made to the National Health Fund. Social security funds around 84% of total public healthcare expenditure. Patients cover the remainder at the point of care.

Healthcare costs in Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the lowest healthcare spenders in the EU in terms of GDP percentage; it spends around 6.2% each year. However, it has one of the highest per capita expenditures; over €5,500 per person each year.

Public health insurance covers between 80-90% of overall healthcare costs. Residents have to pay between 10-20% of GP costs, up to 20% of prescription costs (60% for non-essential medication), and around €22 a night for hospital stays. There are caps to the amount that the state will reimburse dental care and eye care.

Health insurance in Luxembourg

Once you start paying social contributions, your social security card will act as proof of your health insurance in Luxembourg. You will need to show this card whenever you use medical services. Under Luxembourg’s health insurance system, all citizens have the right to choose their own doctor, specialist and hospital.

While 99% of the population is covered by the state healthcare system, about 75% have some extra form of private health insurance (get a quote). This is to get coverage on things that might not be covered by state health insurance in Luxembourg. Read more in our Guide to health insurance in Luxembourg.

Expat-friendly international companies offering private health insurance in Luxembourg include:

How to register for healthcare in Luxembourg as an expat

The first step to registering for healthcare in Luxembourg is to register at the Joint Center for Social Security (Centre Commun de la Sécurité Sociale or CCSS). If you are an employee, your employer will normally do this for you. If you are self-employed, you will need to do it yourself.

Once registered at the CCSS, you will receive your social security card bearing your social security number. You will need to present this to healthcare providers to prove that you are entitled to state healthcare in Luxembourg.

To obtain your social security card, you will need to provide:

  • a valid passport or ID;
  • utility bill or other proof of address;
  • proof of residency;
  • proof of employment

Private healthcare in Luxembourg

All hospitals in Luxembourg are state-owned and publicly run. There are some GPs and medical specialists who provide exclusively private treatment. As the quality of state healthcare is so high, most of the population use public healthcare. Expats can take out private health insurance which will enable them to access any treatments not covered through the public health scheme as well as cover the surplus cost not included in public health insurance.

Doctors and specialists in Luxembourg

You can choose your own doctor in Luxembourg, however make sure that your doctor is contracted into the state health scheme if you use public healthcare; this will help you avoid extra fees. General Practitioners have different hours than doctors in most countries and they close on Wednesday afternoons. They also operate on an appointment basis known as a ‘rendezvous‘, where patients can walk in for appointments and surgeries.

If there is a wait some doctors operate a ‘take a number’ ticket system, and patients can see the doctor when their number comes up. Doctors will make house visits, but only at a certain time of day.

You can make appointments with specialists in Luxembourg without a GP referral. There can sometimes be a long waiting list for appointments.

You can find more information in our Guide to doctors in Luxembourg.

Women’s healthcare in Luxembourg

GPs provide women’s healthcare in Luxembourg, as well as gynecologists in family planning centers or well woman clinics. You can access gynecologists through public healthcare. In addition, you can search for local gynecologists on the Medecins Specialistes website.

Public health insurance covers most maternity costs, including pre-natal and ante-natal care. However, if you choose to have a home birth, public insurance will not cover this. You should contact your GP or gynecologist as soon as you become pregnant.

Women's healthcare in Luxembourg

The Centre Medical in Luxembourg offers sexual health checks, cervical screening tests, and contraceptive advice including prescriptions. Women aged between 50 and 70 can undergo a screening for breast cancer as part of the national screening program.

Emergency contraception is available in Luxembourg without prescription. Abortions are legal up to 12 weeks after conception (or 14 weeks after the last menstrual period). However, later abortions are only permitted if doctors certify that there is a danger to the mother or fetus.

You can find out more in our detailed Guide to having a baby in Luxembourg.

Children’s healthcare in Luxembourg

Children in Luxembourg have access to healthcare treatment through the insurance of their parent or guardian. You can register your child with a doctor as well as access specialist or emergency treatment through pediatric clinics or children’s hospitals. In addition, the Kannerklinik provides 24-hour pediatric services including emergency services.

Pediatricians also operate out of hospital maternity units and medical centers (maisons medicales). You can search for a pediatrician on the doctena website.

Children's healthcare in Luxembourg

Vaccinations for children in Luxembourg are not mandatory, however several are available free of charge. These include vaccinations for:

  • diphtheria;
  • tetanus;
  • polio;
  • hepatitis B;
  • measles, mumps and rubella (MMR)

Read more in our Guide to vaccinations in Luxembourg.

Hospitals in Luxembourg

Hospitals are identified by the international sign of a white H on a blue background. There are no private hospitals in Luxembourg; all hospitals are run by the Caisse de Maladie. In addition, you must have a referral from your doctor for an admission to a hospital if your case is not an emergency.

When going to a hospital, you should take your own clothes, robe and slippers, as well as personal toiletries and towels. You will also need a small amount of money to pay for telephone calls, television programmes, bottled water, and other items offered by private services within the hospital.

There are three classes of service: first, second, and third. First class includes a private room that you pay extra for, unless you have a premium private health insurance. Second class is a shared room with two or three other patients and this is the standard service that insurance covers. Third class service is a ward with more than three patients, and occurs only in certain circumstances. For more information, see our article on Finding a hospital in Luxembourg.

Dentists in Luxembourg

Dentistry in Luxembourg is of a good standard and most dentists provide treatment under the state insurance scheme. In addition, you are free to register with a dentist of your choice; however, first check if they are state registered (unless you have private dental coverage) and also see what treatments are covered.

Basic essential treatment is usually reimbursed between 80-100% through public health insurance. However, more specialist treatment will have to be paid for or covered privately. See more information in our Guide to dental care in Luxembourg.

Health centers and clinics in Luxembourg

In addition to hospitals and clinics in Luxembourg, you can also find medical centers or medical homes (maisons medicales) which provide non-emergency care in evenings, at weekends, and during holidays; when GP surgeries and other healthcare services usually close.

Services normally run from 8pm to 7am during the week and 8am to 7am at weekends. If you feel unwell but cannot wait for the doctor’s surgery to open, you can visit a medical home, or call 112 after midnight to speak to a home. It’s important to remember, though, that maisons medicales should not be used for medical emergencies.

There are three maisons medicales in Luxembourg:

  • Luxembourg City – 59 Rue Michel Welter, L-2730
  • Esch/Alzette – 70 Rue Emily Mayrisch, L-4240
  • Ettelbruck – 110 Lucien Avenue Salentiny, L-9080

Pharmacies in Luxembourg

You can identify pharmacies by a sign which displays a large green cross. If you purchase non-prescription drugs from a chemist, you will pay full price. If your doctor prescribes the same products, your health care insurer will usually reimburse at least a part of the cost.

Pharmacies in Luxembourg

In many ways, pharmacists have greater responsibility for your health and safety than your doctor. The pharmacist may ask for a description of your symptoms, and they are responsible for selling drugs or remedies which could further illness or result in adverse side effects; even if a doctor prescribed the drugs in question.

Pharmacies are usually open during normal shopping hours, but there is always a duty chemist available for service during off-hours. You may have to pay additional costs for medicines purchased during off-hours and this is non-reimbursable. You can find a list of duty pharmacies in Luxembourg here.

Mental healthcare in Luxembourg

The Luxembourg League of Mental Hygiene offers free mental healthcare for adults suffering from problems such as psycho-social disorders, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, you do not need a referral. Services provided include:

  • counselling and psychotherapy;
  • day center sessions and social group activities;
  • well-being workshops;
  • mental illness prevention training

You can also visit your doctor if you have a mental health problem. They will either treat you themselves or refer you on to a specialist. For problems with depression, you can visit the prevention-depression.lu website which has information and resources about combating depression.

Other forms of healthcare in Luxembourg

Homeopathy is reimbursed at the rate of 80% by public health insurance in Luxembourg, if carried out by a qualified doctor. However, this is the only form of alternative or complementary medicine that state insurance covers. Some private companies may cover complementary treatments, but you will usually have to pay extra for these on top of your basic insurance package.

Only qualified physicians can officially practice alternative medicine in Luxembourg. Furthermore, it is seen as unethical for doctors to recommend any treatments that are scientifically unproven. It is possible to find holistic and natural therapists, however it may be difficult to get treatments covered through insurance.

Emergency healthcare in Luxembourg

The medical emergency phone number in Luxembourg is 112. The emergency department provides emergency care at large hospitals – ‘cas d’urgence‘ or ‘spoedgeval‘.

Treatment is free even if you have no insurance. However, not all hospitals in Luxembourg have emergency services, and out of hours coverage is on rotation among the hospitals in the area. You can find the duty schedule in the local newspapers, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices.

If you suffer from a condition that may need emergency treatment, you should carry a written description of the condition, the medicines you are taking, including doses, and any other relevant details. This can be in English or the local language and will save you considerable time (and possibly your life) if a medical emergency strikes and you are unable to speak for yourself.

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