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Health Service

Luxembourg - Health Service

The national healthcare system provided in Luxembourg by the Caisse de Maladie (sickness fund) is modern and internationally highly regarded. Whilst the 2014 expenditure on healthcare at 6.9 percent of GDP was below that of the UK (at 9.8 percent) and the US (16.6 percent), the government funded more than four fifths of the total healthcare expenditure.

Life expectancy in Luxembourg is 82 years of age, making it the 13th longest average lifespan in the world. This is longer than experienced in the UK (in 20th place globally, with 81.2 years) and the US (down in 31st place globally, with average life expectancy at 79.3 years).

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Luxembourg has the lowest number of babies and children who will die before they are five in any of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

The state healthcare system is funded by a form of taxation similar to National Insurance Contributions in the UK. Both workers and employers pay a contribution to the fund each time the employee is paid, based on the amount paid. Self-employed workers also contribute, with the amount based on their net income.

The state health services identify and contract with specific individuals and businesses to provide state funded cover. You cannot arrive at any surgery or hospital and expect state-funded treatment to be provided. Instead, you must check that the professional or organisation is registered for funded care before you begin to receive treatment. If you do not, you become liable for the costs, even they were due to a misunderstanding.

With the exception of emergency treatment, you can only access hospital services via a referral from your GP. All hospitals in Luxembourg are funded by the state healthcare system, but only some have emergency departments.

If you need to stay in hospital, the basic accommodation will be provided in a ward of four patients. Those who are willing to pay more or have insurance to cover the additional cost can be upgraded to a private room with an en suite bathroom.

Luxembourg uses a percentage reimbursement model for its state healthcare system. Patients pay in full for each session of treatment, whether it is through the local GP surgery, at the local hospital, to the dentist, or as payment for prescribed medicines. Detailed receipts for the payment will be given to the patient, which they submit to the Caisse de Maladie. The appropriate refund will then be processed; for some medical services the patient will be reimbursed in full, but for others they are expected to make a transaction-based contribution and therefore only receive a partial refund.

In order to cover the transaction based contribution costs, many people take out supplementary insurance. A number of not-for-profit health insurance bodies have been affiliated by the ministry of social security in Luxembourg to provide this additional insurance. Employees can also receive this cover through their employer’s scheme.

If you are moving to Luxembourg and will not be working, you will not make contributions into the fund. Therefore, you will not receive state funded healthcare and must take out private health insurance. If your employer has overseen your relocation, you may be offered private medical insurance as part of your remuneration package.

European citizens are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which means they can receive emergency medical care on the same basis as local residents when in other European countries. This includes treatment for pre-existing conditions which have become a medical emergency. If local residents receive the emergency treatment for free, so will EHIC holders; the same applies where a small fixed charge is levied. However, it does not cover ongoing or non-emergency treatment.

The EHIC scheme is also only applicable for visitors. If you move to Luxembourg from another EU country, your EHIC card will no longer be valid. You are also unlikely to be covered for treatment in your home country once you have moved away. The NHS in the UK, for example, will only deliver treatment free of charge to those who are permanently resident in the country and visitors who hold valid EHIC cards; everyone else will be invoiced for the treatment they receive. Therefore, if you move to Luxembourg and will not be working or contributing to the state health insurance scheme, you must arrange private health insurance as a matter of urgency, since you will not be covered by the state in either your new country or home nation.

If you need an ambulance whilst in Luxembourg, call the emergency number 112. Police assistance can be requested on 113.

Many international businesses, including those in the financial services and information technology sectors, are based in and around Luxembourg City. This is one of many reasons why high-quality private healthcare provision in Luxembourg is available. There is plenty of choice for those looking for privately funded doctors, specialists and hospitals.

Accord to WHO, the major health risks in Luxembourg are related to the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Luxembourg regularly tops the table of alcohol consumption in OECD countries. However, death rates from alcohol consumption in prosperous Luxembourg are surprising low, but this reflects data seen in most developed countries, whereby poorer people suffer more from alcohol related health damage even though they drink less than the middle classes.

However, in 2015 drink driving was the cause of almost one third of all car accidents involving a fatality. The drink driving limit in Luxembourg is 0.5 grammes per litre, the same as many European countries such as France and Germany. This is lower than permitted in the UK – except Scotland – and many US states.

Failure to wear a seatbelt, despite it being required by law, caused a similar rate of fatality in the 2015 data.

The first national restrictions on where people could smoke in Luxembourg was introduced in 2006. This was tightened on January 1st, 2014, when it became illegal to smoke in an indoor public place. In August 2017, the ban was further extended to ban smoking near a playground or in a car with a child under the age of 12 years.

These latest changes also significantly regulated the sale and use of e-cigarettes. Like tobacco products, the sale of e-cigarettes to children and young people under the age of 18 is illegal. In all areas where it is illegal to smoke tobacco products, it is now illegal to consume e-cigarettes, or vape, as it is commonly known.

The rate of obesity in Luxembourg, at 15.6 percent, is very slightly below the EU average. However, the rate is increasing over time, including in childhood.



Expat Health Insurance Partners


Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.

Cigna

Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.