How Does Healthcare Assistance Work During My Erasmus+ Stay?

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Whether your Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme stay is short or long, it could happen to everyone that you need medical assistance. This article is necessary to reassure you about this topic which is often not given too much importance before leaving, but which could be useful to know.


Generally, for your Erasmus+ or Turing stay it is enough to bring with you your European Health Card, issued by your country of origin, which allows you to receive medical assistance in the countries of the European Union and in Switzerland during periods of study, work or vacation. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive medically necessary (hence not only urgent).

It is advisable to contact your host in advance to receive more information about any additional documents or models that may be required by the host institution for medical coverage while staying in your facilities, and on the relative procedures to be followed to obtain reimbursement of medical expenses.

The European healthcare system is different in each Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme country, however citizens of the European Union can benefit from health care in all hospitals in the EU, and in the countries of the European economic area, when they are outside their home country.

You can obtain healthcare services directly from a public or contracted provider by presenting the EHIC, which entitles you to receive treatment under the same conditions as people insured in the country you are in. You will be provided the service free of charge, except for any co-payment (for example, in France, patients are charged 20 % on all treatments including hospitalisation) which is paid directly by patients and is not reimbursable.

Please note that in Switzerland and France (which have reimbursement-based systems), most often you will be required to pay for treatment upfront. You can then claim reimbursement (except for the co-payment share, which is non-reimbursable) directly from the national institution while still in the country (LAMal in Switzerland and the competent CPAM in France). Alternatively, you can ask for reimbursement from your local health authority, presenting your medical bills and treatment reports.

Don’t forget to bring your health card with you in order to guarantee your right to receive prompt treatment. For urgent care, you can go directly to one of the EU hospitals, while for specialist visits, citizens must pay the cost in advance but can request reimbursement, which is different accordingly to the rules and rates of the country where the treatment is been lent. Finally, it is important to make sure that you are treated by the local public system in order to avoid partial refunds.

For drugs, on the other hand, the prescriptions made by your doctor, in the departure country, are valid throughout Europe and therefore reusable. However, a medicine prescribed in one Erasmus+ or Turing Scheme country may not be available in another, or may have a different name.

You can ask to your doctor for a prescription that can be used in another EU country before leaving: this type of prescription is called "cross-border prescription". While drugs that do not require a medical prescription can be freely purchased throughout the EU.

Students who leave for destinations outside the EU (for example to Turkey) must subscribe a private insurance, while non-EU citizens can use the certificate only in EU member countries (therefore excluding Switzerland, Iceland, Norway , Liechtenstein).