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Healthcare for Frontier Workers

Information applies to: All

If you live in one jurisdiction and work in another you may be eligible for health care both where you live and where you work.

Frontier/Cross border workers

A frontier or cross border worker is a person who lives in one member state and works in another, returning home daily or weekly. For example, persons who live in Northern Ireland and work in the Republic of Ireland, or vice versa.

Northern residents working in the South:

  • Are entitled to NHS health care, as they are legally resident in NI
  • Are entitled to apply for an Irish Medical Card, subject to a means test

Southern residents working in the North:

  • Are entitled to a NHS medical card, however, their spouse and children are not eligible
  • Are eligible for free GP services
  • Are eligible to register with a NHS dentist
  • Are eligible for maternity services from a GP, a midwife and an obstetrician in a hospital if necessary
  • Are also eligible for an Irish Medical Card under EU Entitlement (without a means test)

If You Have EU Entitlement

If you belong to one of the following groups, you will get a Medical Card under EU Regulations:

  • You are living in Ireland and receiving a social security payment from another European Union /European Economic Area (EU/EEA) country or Switzerland and you are not getting an Irish social welfare payment (apart from Child Benefit or Early Childcare Supplement). You must not be liable to contribute to the Irish Social Welfare System, (i.e. PRSI)
  • You are living in Ireland and working in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland and are liable to pay Social Insurance Contributions in that country

You are living in Ireland and you are the dependent spouse or child of someone employed in another EU/EEA country and Switzerland. You must not be getting an Irish Social Welfare Payment apart from Child Benefit or Early Childcare Supplement and you must not be liable to contribute to the Irish social welfare system

Retired Cross Border Workers

Retired cross border workers may be entitled to NHS healthcare for continued treatment of an existing condition.

Retired cross border workers who live in the South are no longer entitled to NHS healthcare when they cease working in Northern Ireland. However, there is one important exemption to note:  

Under Article 28 of EU regulation 883/2004  cross border workers who retire due to "old age or invalidity" are entitled to access continuing treatment for a condition for which they are already receiving services in Northern Ireland.

Continuation of treatment is defined as "the continued investigation, diagnosis and treatment of an illness".

However, retired cross border workers must access all other health services in the Republic of Ireland, it is only the continued treatment of a condition which can be provided for free in Northern Ireland.

It is very important to clarify your situation with your GP and local Health Trust prior to retiring or moving across the border.

For further information please visit EU Coordination of social security systems - Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 external website

See also:

  • Border People feature on Frontier Workers - Health Entitlements
  • Border People feature on Frontier Workers - Maternity Benefits
  • Border People FAQ – Health Care

About this information record ...

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Permalink: Healthcare for Frontier Workers
Themes: Commute
Categories: Health
Life Events: Commuting, Getting ill, Having a baby
Target Groups: All, People with ill health, Frontier workers
Last updated: 09 October 2013

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