With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for patients getting treatment abroad.
Do you suffer from a medical condition that cannot be treated in your home country, or you have to wait too long for treatment? You might be interested to know whether you can access other EU countries’ health systems and if your home insurance will cover at least a part of the costs of getting treatment abroad.
EU rules on cross-border healthcare could come to your aid in such a situation. They grant patients the right to benefit from planned medical treatment, such as specialist consultation, surgery or treatment for a specific medical condition, in another EU country on the same terms and at the same cost as people who live in that country. While some countries may have restrictions in place for access to treatment for organisational reasons, these should not discriminate against patients coming from another EU country.
And what about the issue of reimbursement? If the treatment is covered by your insurance, but is not available at all, or not in time, in your home country, your health insurer is obliged to reimburse your expenses up to the level of costs you would have normally incurred in your home country.
National Contact Points for planned medical treatment, either in your home country or in the country where the treatment is available, will help you identify the health provider offering the treatment you need. Your home National Contact Point also provides information about reimbursement options and about whether you need to ask for prior authorisation.
- European Commission Directorate General for Health website: https://ec.europa.eu/health/cross_border_care/overview_en
- European Commission Your Europe portal https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/health/planned-healthcare/get-more-info/index_en.htm
- Network of National Contact Points https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/cross_border_care/docs/cbhc_ncp_en.pdf