Within the European Union, rules for the coordination of social security schemes have been agreed and applied, which are common and uniform in all Member-States. These rules include social security, retirement, employment, unemployment and health issues. The institutional framework and the specialized regulations are provided by the EU Regulation No 883/2004 and its Implementing Regulation (EU) No 987/2009.
The said Regulations constitute the whole of the new Community Legislation for the coordination of social security schemes in EU Member-States. They are of equal legal value and cannot be applied independently the one from the other. 1st May 2010 was set as the date of the above Regulations’ entry into force, in accordance with Article 97 of the Implementing Regulation (EU) No 987/2009.
EESSI is an electronic social security data exchange system aimed at the interconnection of the Member States’ Social Security Institutions falling within the scope of EU Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 [ex. Benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases, sickness benefits in cash and in kind, pension benefits (old-age, invalidity, survivor’s pension) and applicable legislation]. The EESSI system is developed by the European Commission, via European and national bodies for the Project’s governance in accordance with the EU Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 on the coordination of national social security schemes. EESSI is a system that is expected to operate, at least at central level, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The compulsory electronic information exchange via the “Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information” (EESSI) system was established in order to facilitate the effective application of coordination rules and ensure the prompt and reliable data exchange among Member States’ bodies.
Article 95(1) of the EU Regulation 987/2009 authorizes the Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Schemes to decide on the practical details, during the transitional period, as well as on the structure, content, form and detailed arrangements for the exchange of documents and structured electronic documents.
The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union from 1/1/2021entails a number of issues related to the social protection of workers and insured persons from EU and to the U.K. In order to resolve the issues that have arisen, the EU took up a number of arrangements, as it follows:
- Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (2019/C 66 I/01)
- Trade and European Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom (2020/2252)
- Special Note Verbale No.72/2020/16.11.2020 of the British Embassy
- Commission Guidance Note relating to the Agreement on the withdrawal (2020/C173/01)
MISSOC is the EU Mutual Information System on Social Protection which constitutes an information exchange system among the EU Member States. It operates online at www.missoc.org and its database is updated every six months.
This system’s database includes information on social protection systems and their organization in the 27 EU Member States, the three countries of the European Economic Area-Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway-as well as the UK (up to 1st July 2019) and Switzerland. It also contains a section dedicated to the social protection of the self-employed.
MISSOC has grown into a central database for public authorities, professional users and European citizens, providing up-to-date information on social protection legislation, benefits and conditions in all participating countries. It allows users to find descriptive information about a specific country and offers the opportunity to compare and analyze several social protection systems.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is valid in our country as in all EU Member States since 1-6-2004, according to the Regulation (EC) No631/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004.
Decisions 189, 190, 191 /18-6-2003 of the Administrative Committee as well as S1, S2 (Amending) decisions of 2009 have set out the legal conditions for access to healthcare during a stay in a Member State other than the competent State or the residence State, identified the EHIC technical characteristics and decided to replace the E111 and E111B forms.
The EHIC is granted free of charge and covers the medically necessary benefits to its holder (and provides the right to reimbursement of cost) during temporary residence in a Member State other than the competent State or State of residence.
The EHIC certifies insured persons and pensioners as well as their family members who reside in a Member State other than the competent one, are entitled to benefits in kind that are made necessary for medical reasons during their stay, after taking into account the kind of benefits and the expected duration of stay.
Any person insured or covered by a state social security scheme in any EU Member State is beneficiary of EHIC.
The EHIC is an individual card, issued in the card holder’s name.
The EHIC can be used in all cases of temporary residence during which an insured person claims for benefits in kind irrespective of the purpose of the stay that may be tourism, professional activities, or studies. It also proves that the card holder is entitled to sickness benefits in kind in the Member State of residence, which are necessary for medical reasons and granted during the temporary residence in another Member State, so that the card holder is not forced to return to the competent state or state of residence to get the necessary treatment.
The purpose of this kind of benefits is to allow the insured persons to continue their stay under medically safe conditions.
When moving a worker’s habitual residence to another country, the worker should register in that country through the S1 form instead of using the EHIC, to receive medical care in the new country of habitual residence.
However, the EHIC
- Cannot be used in cases where the temporal stay purpose is medical treatment
- Is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare scheme or costs such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property
- Does not guarantee free services. As each country’s healthcare system is different, services that cost nothing at home might not be free in another country.
The EHIC is issued by the eEFKA for the insured persons and by Universities for students after submission of the specific application. For more information on the procedure for issuing the EHIC you may visit the eEFKA website.