The principle of free movement of persons allows people to get healthcare everywhere in the European Union. Receiving healthcare in each Member State is easy, however reimbursement can be difficult.

The European directive 2011/24/EU which had to be transposed into national law before October 25th 2013, makes provision for the introduction of a general framework to clarify patients’ rights with regard to accessing cross-border healthcare provision and to guarantee the safety, quality and efficiency of care.

Patients receiving healthcare in a different member state shall receive an equal treatment to patients who are resident in that country, in addition they are reimbursed in the same proportion as if they had been treated in their own country of residence.

The new regulations distinguishes between 3 situations:

-ambulatory care (dental care, visits at a general practitioner) can be received in each member state without prior authorization of the Nation Health Insurance Fund.

-Care resulting from a temporary stay abroad (urgent care) can be received in each member state without prior authorization of the Nation Health Insurance Fund.

-For care involving a stay at hospital of at least one night, specialized care or involving high costs, certain cases involving the security and quality of treatment it can be required to get prior authorization from the Nation Health Insurance Fund.

In principle, patients receiving healthcare abroad have to fully pay the costs for treatment and can later demand the reimbursement at the competent national authority. Costs are reimbursed in the same level which would have been paid if the treatment had taken place in the country of residence.

The directive is applicable to both public and private health care.

In addition to this, the directive foresees that an information contact point on patients’ rights is established in the EU.

You can consult the directive 2011/24/EU, the memo from the European Commission as well as the leaflet on patients’ rights concerning cross border health care.


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