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Employed or self-employed in another EEA country

Paying insurance in another EEA country

If you work in another EEA country either

You usually have to pay contributions into a state sickness insurance scheme in that country. If so, you and any members of your family who depend on you, and who are living with you, will be able to get the same health service benefits as an insured resident of that country.

If you are insured under a state sickness insurance scheme in another EEA country and members of your family who depend on you live in the UK, ask your sickness insurance authorities to send form E109 to The Pension Service (Directgov)

If you or any members of your family who depend on you and live with you visit another EEA country, ask the sickness insurance authorities in the country where you work for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This will cover you and your family for any treatment that becomes necessary during your visit.

Members of your family who depend on you and live in the UK must get their EHIC from the UK as explained in the section - visiting another EEA country.

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Not paying insurance in another EEA country

In some EEA countries, you may not have to pay into a state sickness insurance scheme if you work for an employer but earn more or less than a certain amount, or if you are self-employed. Check with the state sickness insurance scheme of the other EEA country to see if this applies to you. If it does, you may be able to pay voluntary contributions to their scheme. If you cannot, you should think about taking out private medical insurance.

It is your responsibility to see that you have healthcare cover. If you are not insured in a country that has a healthcare scheme based on insurance, and the section ‘Paying UK National Insurance contributions’ below does not apply to you, then you will not be covered. You will have to pay all your healthcare costs in full on a private basis. This also applies to any members of your family who depend on you and who are living with you. The UK cannot pay these costs for you.

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Paying UK National Insurance contributions

The sections about working in the EEA in Insurance and contributions tell you when you may carry on being insured under the UK NI scheme if you are employed or self-employed in another EEA country. If you do, the sickness insurance scheme of that country will give you, and any members of your family who depend on you and who live with you, healthcare cover on the same terms as an insured resident of that country. But you will only get this in the country where you work, and you must normally take the right E form with you.

If you are working in another EEA country for a UK employer, or you are self-employed there for a short time, you will need to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from the UK for yourself and any members of your family who depend on you and who move with you. See the Department of Health's website for more information. The EHIC covers you and your family for any treatment that becomes necessary as long as you remain insured under the UK scheme. Medical treatment will be given on the same terms that are available to ‘insured’ residents of the country you have gone to work in. You can get the form from the HMRC Residency.

If the above paragraph applies to you and you or any members of your family who depend on you and live with you visit another EEA country, you can use your EHIC for any treatment which becomes necessary.

Special contribution arrangements in EEA countries tells you about special arrangements that may apply to you. If they do, you will normally need form E106 to cover you for full healthcare in the country where you work. Medical treatment will be provided on the same terms that are available to ‘insured’ residents of the country you have gone to work in. The form will also cover any members of your family who depend on you and move with you. You can get it from the HMRC Residency. When you get form E106, give it to the local state sickness insurance office in the other EEA country you are working in.

If the special arrangements mentioned above apply to you and you or any members of your family who depend on you and live with you visit another EEA country, you will need an EHIC from the UK for each of you to cover any treatment which becomes necessary. It is advisable to obtain them before you leave the UK, otherwise you may have difficulties if you need medical treatment.

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If you are out of work in another EEA country

If you go to another EEA country to look for work and you can get UK contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in that country, as explained in Job seeker’s allowance in EEA countries you and any members of your family who go with you will be able to get any medical treatment that becomes necessary. You should get an EHIC before you go. See the section Visiting another EEA country for information on how to apply.