Using The Healthcare System In Luxembourg - A Short Guide For Expats
Published Thursday May 14, 2015 (14:32:01)
Luxembourg has one of the best healthcare systems in the European region. The state-funded system, overseen by the country’s Caisse de Maladie, adheres to high standards and provides basic medical coverage to all citizens. Private healthcare is also available in Luxembourg and citizens can select their own doctors, specialists and hospital. New expats may find it difficult to navigate the healthcare system of a different country, but this is an important practice for those who will be staying in Luxembourg in the long term. Here is a short guide that highlights the main points of the healthcare system in Luxembourg.
The state-funded healthcare system
In Luxembourg, all citizens are covered for free basic healthcare. The taxes used to fund the healthcare system are derived from the pay of employed citizens and employees. These contributions have a cap of EUR 6,625. The employer and employees each pay half of the amount. Self-employed citizens must pay the whole amount on their own, however this amount varies depending on the type of profession. The healthcare contributions made by employed individuals also cover their dependent family members.
Foreigners who reside in Luxembourg but who are not employed, such as retirees, need to show evidence of health insurance in order to acquire a residence permit. Those who are eligible for ‘non-resident’ tax status may not be required to make healthcare contributions and these individuals are likely to be covered by their employer’s healthcare insurance scheme.
The healthcare system in Luxembourg works on the basis of reimbursements. The Caisse de Maladie specifies all types of medical fees and individuals can submit their receipts for doctors’ consultations, treatments and medications and receive reimbursement. While one can receive 100 percent reimbursement for nearly all doctors’ visits, the rates may be different for other medical services. In the case of prescription medicines, the reimbursement is usually around 78 percent. There can be reimbursements for dental treatments, provided the dentist is registered with the Caisse de Maladie. Reimbursements may also be provided for emergency treatment received in a neighboring country.
Private health insurance
It is a common practice to obtain supplementary insurance from any of the non-profit health insurance agencies or associations affiliated to Luxembourg’s Ministry of Social Security. Employers also offer supplementary health cover to their employees as an employment benefit. In such cases, individuals can receive the portion of medical fees that is not covered by the state-funded health insurance. Private health insurance also offers coverage for other medical services such as eye care, hospitalization and treatment outside the country.
If you are covered by the state-funded healthcare system, you are free to choose any doctor provided he or she has a contract with the state scheme. General physicians in Luxembourg tend to have different working hours compared to doctors in other countries. They remain closed on Wednesday afternoons. They are available on an appointment basis or may hold ‘walk-in’ surgeries, or both in some cases. These ‘walk-in’ surgeries usually have long waiting lines. Doctors do make themselves available for house calls, but these are done only during fixed times of the day.
All hospitals in Luxembourg are public hospitals, run by the Caisse de Maladie. There are no private hospitals. Admission to hospitals is done on the basis of doctor referrals, in the case of a non-emergency. Patients are required to bring their own personal items such as clothing, robe, slippers, toiletries and towels. Telephone calls, television channels and bottled water are all charged as they are provided by private services within the hospitals.
112 is the medical emergency number in Luxembourg. The emergency departments in the bigger hospitals carry out this emergency care. Even those without medical insurance are provided with emergency care. Not all hospitals are equipped with emergency services, and emergency care outside of working hours is rotated among hospitals within the area. This schedule is available at doctors’ offices and pharmacies, and is also published in newspapers.
You will be charged full price for non-prescription drugs if you purchase them directly from a pharmacy. If your doctor prescribes the same medicine, you will receive at least partial reimbursement from your insurer. There may be an extra charge for medicines purchased during the off-hours of a pharmacy.
Article content received from: Expat Focus,