HEALTH INSURANCE FOR ACCOMPANYING SPOUSES / PARTNERS WHEN WORKING ABROAD
WHY HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE ACCOMPANYING SPOUSE / PARTNER IS ONE OF EUFASA’S CONCERNS
Nowadays, dual careers have become the norm in Europe whereby in almost 70% of cases both partners are working. This trend, rising steadily since the 1990s, can be explained on one hand by the willingness to work of both partners and, on the other hand, by financial and economic factors. Indeed, it has become very difficult in Europe to maintain an adequate standard of living with only one income. Furthermore, working does not only play an important role in social integration; it also means access to unemployment allowances and pension funds.
There are significant problems in ensuring full health coverage abroad for spouses. Not all EU member-states extend their national health insurance schemes for their citizens in other EU member states or further afield. The health insurance for the accompanying family is usually linked to the civil servant and thus spouses / partners are covered by their sending state or their ministries of Foreign Affairs, and this should be made the case in all MFA’s. This loss of health insurance can be one of the biggest obstacles for officials as well as spouse/partners accepting possible employment while on posting abroad.
WHAT EUFASA HAS DONE ABOUT IT
EUFASA conducted surveys amongst its member states and presented the findings at the:
- EUFASA Conference, Prague 2009
- EUFASA Conference, Rome 2014
EUFASA recommends that all Member States establish either:
- Ideally, that spouses are considered by all MFAs as beneficiaries of the officials and, thereby, are covered by their health insurance regardless if they work abroad and irrespective of the income earned.
- Or, the above with an income threshold [each ministry will have a different threshold] below which the spouse would continue to benefit from the diplomatic official’s health coverage.