What should you do?
Always contact your health insurer first
You should always contact your health insurer first. The health insurer has to inform you about what is the most favourable possibility for you to undergo treatment in another EU country: based on the Regulation or based on the Directive (see below). If you undergo treatment in another EU country based on the Regulation, then you will in any case need your health insurer’s prior permission. Therefore, you need to contact your health insurer well in advance. Your health insurer can inform you about how to submit an application and also has enough time to assess it.
If your health insurer agrees, then you will receive an S2/E112 form. You can use this to let the healthcare provider in the other EU country know that you have a right to the treatment and that your health insurer will reimburse the costs. Your health insurer can also oblige you to obtain prior permission for care provided based on the Directive. If you undergo treatment without doing this, then you will be running the risk that your costs will not be reimbursed.
Another possibility is that your health insurer has contracted care from the healthcare provider abroad. In that case your health insurer can provide you with the information you need.
Your health insurer is also obliged to provide you in advance with information about:
- the conditions for permission;
- how your costs will be reimbursed; and
- what you must take into account if you want to undergo treatment in another EU country.
You may not use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you go to another EU country to undergo treatment there. This is because the EHIC is only intended for medical care that is urgently required if you happen to be in that country, e.g., on holiday. The website of the European Commission provides a summary, per country, of what you have to do if you need medical care and to which forms of care you are entitled.
Plan your trip thoroughly
Fully inform yourself in advance on the foreign healthcare provider and the treatment options. Check if the treatment will be conform to the local quality and safety standards.
Also make sure the foreign healthcare provider has insight of your medical history. Your Dutch healthcare provider must provide you with access to or a copy of your medical records. Of course he can arrange himself the transfer of your medical records directly to the healthcare provider abroad.
And arrange to get a copy of all medical records and test results documented by the healthcare provider abroad. This enables your Dutch healthcare provider to continue the treatment. And check whether you need to arrange a follow-up treatment in the Netherlands.
Finally, don’t forget to check with your healthcare insurer which costs you have to bear yourself, for instance costs for travel and accommodation, co-payment or translation costs.
You can also find information on the websites of the:
Toolbox for patients
For patients who wish to undergo treatment in another EU country the European Commission has created a toolbox. The toolbox contains relevant information on the legal framework of cross-border healthcare, but also information on practical issues concerning treatment in another EU country. The toolbox includes a Manual and several documents, such as a glossary, a checklist and FAQs. You’ll find these documents on the right-hand side of page 'More about treatment in another EU country', under “Documents”.
The European Commission has also made a short video indicating what things demand particular attention when undergoing treatment in another EU country. A link to the video can be found on the right-hand side of page 'More about treatment in another EU country', under "See also".