Journal article

Publication details

(Ab)Using European Citizenship? EU Retired Migrants and the Exercise of Healthcare Rights
in journal: Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law

Appears in this special issue:

Volume number: 14
Issue number: 3
Release year: 2007
Page range: 287-302

Author(s) details

Keleigh Coldron

Louise Ackers

Publication description

Healthcare Rights, Retirement Migrants, European Citizenship, Individual Agency
Drawing on two empirical projects, this article reveals the different ways EU retired migrants are exercising their healthcare rights on the ground. It describes the legal framework underpinning EU citizens’ rights to access healthcare in host Member States, and moves on to identify three main ways in which retirement migrants are doing this: (1) purchasing and using private healthcare; (2) legitimately using public healthcare services in the host region; and (3) manipulating their residency status to (ab)use public healthcare in both the home and host regions. Respondents rarely exercised their rights in the same way every time. Rather, their decisions regarding healthcare were shaped by time, place and the specific medical episode they were presented with. The article attempts to illuminate the relationship between formal rights and individual agency and highlight the consequences of these particular kinds of rights’ engagement for the individual migrants themselves and the sending and receiving regions. The article seeks to contribute to the debate about the future direction of European citizenship, the sustainability of public healthcare systems and, more specifically, the implications of growing numbers of retirees on the move.