Health insurance cover when living abroad as a pensioner

As a pensioner living abroad, you must apply to be covered by the health insurance of your country of residence

Introduction to health insurance abroad

If you are receiving a state pension or disability pension and living abroad or if you are moving out of Denmark, then you are no longer covered by your Danish health insurance unless you move to Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland. In those countries, you will automatically be given health insurance when you register yourself as living in that country - but you must still apply for the blue EU health insurance card.

If you are a pensioner and living or moving to an EU/EEA country or Switzerland

If you are living or moving to an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you must apply for the public health insurance to be covered. You must apply using form E121.

If you need medical assistance before you get health insurance via form E121, you can use the blue EU health insurance card.  

If you are a pensioner and living or moving to a country that is not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland

If you are living or moving to a country that is not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you must apply for health insurance by contacting the local health insurance authorities in the country to which you are moving.

What do I do if I cannot get health insurance abroad?

If you are not entitled to public health insurance in the country that you are living in or moving to, or if the country has no public health insurance, Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration recommends that you contact a private consultant.

If there are changes to the information that you or your family members have provided to Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration, you must notify of such changes. It may have an impact on your right to a health insurance.

You or your family must notify of changes if:

  • you or a family member moves to another country - this also applies when moving to Denmark
  • you or a family member become wage earners or self-employed
  • you or a family member receives a social pension from a country other than Denmark
  • you become divorced or cease cohabiting with your spouse/common-law partner

In addition, you or a family member must also notify Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration in the event of a death in the family. 

How can I notify Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration?

You can notify of changes by calling Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration, International Health Insurance at +45 70 12 80 81. You can also send a message via Digital Post:

If you do not have Digital Post, you can send a letter to:

Udbetaling Danmark – Public Benefits Administration, International pension
Kongens Vænge 8
DK-3400 Hillerød

Health insurance in EU/EEA countries and Switzerland (form E121)

If you are a permanent resident of or move to Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Finland, you will be covered by the public health insurance when you register yourself as living in the country. Therefore, you do not have to apply for health insurance yourself.

If you are a permanent resident of or move to an EU/EEA country or Switzerland, you must apply for the public health insurance. You must apply using form E121.

You can use your blue EU health insurance card if you need medical assistance before you are covered by health insurance via form E121

Can my family get health insurance?

If you have health insurance via form E121, your spouse/common-law partner and children under the age of 18 can also get health insurance via form E121 if they are not:

  • wage earners abroad
  • self-employed abroad
  • receiving a social pension from the country they are residents of
  • insured by a pension scheme for a long period of time in another country where they simultaneously received a social pension from a country other than their country of residence and Denmark

Can other members of my family also get health insurance?

If family members who are not spouses/common-law partners or children under the age of 18 need health insurance, you or a member of your family must contact the health insurance authorities in the relevant country. They will then evaluate whether your family member can get health insurance via form E121.

You can get health insurance via form E121 if:

  • you are receiving a state pension, disability pension or public servant pension from Denmark
  • you have an international address and are no longer registered in the Danish National Register as living in Denmark.

In addition, to qualify you must not:

  • have income as a wage earner abroad
  • be working as self-employed abroad
  • receive a social pension from the country you are living in or moving to
  • be insured by a pension scheme for a long period of time in another EU/EEA country than Denmark and your country of residence.

At the earliest, you can receive the E121 form from the date where you have been awarded a state pension, disability pension or public servant pension. 

Please note that you cannot get health insurance via form E121 if you have deferred your state pension.

If you no longer meet the conditions

If you no longer meet the conditions but believe that you are entitled to health insurance form E121, you must contact the local health insurance office and get them to send a written request to Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration, International Pension.

When you are insured via form E121, you are entitled to treatment at hospitals, from doctors and other healthcare providers that have an agreement with the public health insurance authorities.

With form E121, you are considered to be entitled to the same healthcare as the residents of the country that you are living in or moving to. This means that as a general rule, you will not have to pay for the health insurance. However, if the country in question require some form of payment for medical services, then you will have to pay as well. You cannot get these costs reimbursed from the public health insurance in Denmark.

You must contact the health insurance authority of the relevant country if you want more information on your health insurance rights.

You are allowed to work in Denmark while simultaneously having health insurance as a pensioner living abroad. However, there are some rules for how much you are allowed to work while you have health insurance as a pensioner living abroad.  

Are you a wage earner and have health insurance via form E121?

When you have health insurance via form E121, you are at most permitted to work 9.25 hours per week. If you work that number of hours or more, then:

  • you are not allowed to be tax-registered in Denmark
  • you are not allowed to work in the country that you are living in or moving to.

In addition, your employer is not permitted to make contributions to ATP Livslang Pension (Lifelong Pension).

If you are working for more than 9.25 hours per week, you must apply for health insurance via the special health insurance card and form E106.

Are you self-employed and have health insurance via form E121?

When you have health insurance via form E121 as a self-employed person, you are not permitted to work more than 18.5 hours per week.

If you are working for more than 18.5 hours per week, you must apply for health insurance via the special health insurance card and form E106.

Several EU countries use the S1 form instead of health insurance form E121. The S1 document is a document that you carry with you.

The forms provide the same health insurance rights, but Denmark only uses form E121, and therefore this is the one you must apply for when seeking health insurance as a Danish pensioner living abroad.

If you wish to plan medical treatment in another EU country, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you can apply for form S2. The S2 document is a document that you carry with you.

With the S2, you can get the costs covered for the medical treatment. You must apply for S2 in the country you are a resident of.

The S2 form entitles you to treatment on the same terms as the residents of the country where you are getting the treatment. For example, the means that if residents have to pay for some of the medical treatment themselves, then you do as well.

Are you living in Sweden, Norway, Iceland or Finland?

In order to be entitled to S2, you must meet the conditions for receiving the blue EU health insurance card. In addition, you must also meet one of the conditions below:

  • You cannot receive timely treatment in your country of residence *
  • You cannot get the correct form of medical treatment in your country of residence - for example, specialised cancer treatments

* ‘Timely treatment’ is here to be interpreted as you being unable to receive treatment within a medically responsible period of time in the context of your health and the progression of your illness.

Are you living in a country that is not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland?

In order to be entitled to S2, you must have medical insurance via form E121. In addition, you must also meet one of the conditions below:

  • You cannot receive timely treatment in your country of residence *
  • You cannot get the correct form of medical treatment in your country of residence - for example, specialised cancer treatments

* ‘Timely treatment’ is here to be interpreted as you being unable to receive treatment within a medically responsible period of time in the context of your health and the progression of your illness.

How to apply for S2

You must apply for S2 via the national health insurance office of the country you are a resident of.

Please note that you must apply for S2 before you start your treatment in another country.

If you wish to receive treatment in Denmark, you must contact the Danish Patient Safety Authority.

Islands Brygge 67
DK-2300 Copenhagen
+45 72 28 66 00
stps@stps.dk

If you are receiving a state pension, disability pension or public servant pension and you have lived in one country but worked in another (as a cross-border commuter), there are special rules for whether you qualify for public healthcare in the country that you used to work in.

  • You can get medical assistance in the country that you used to work in if the treatment started in that country while you were still working.
  • You cannot start a new treatment in the country that you used to work in if the treatment would only begin after you become a pensioner.

In order to continue the treatment in the country that you worked in, you must apply for document S3. In order to apply for document S3, you must contact Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration, International Health Insurance by called +45 70 12 80 81 or sending an email via Digital Post:

There are special rules that apply to S3 if you are receiving a pension from a country other than Denmark. You can learn more about the rules by contacting Udbetaling Danmark - Public Benefits Administration, International Health Insurance.

How to use S3

If you need to use S3 in Denmark, you must show it when you are receiving treatment. In other countries, you must show the document to the public health insurance authority before the treatment is started.

Contact Udbetaling Danmark, International Sygesikring

Last updated: 22 January 2021