Health systems and provision of care vary greatly across EU countries. In some of them, public health schemes cover health care expenditures of the entire resident population, in others, elements of private insurance are incorporated in the social security system. The vast majority of EU patients receive healthcare in their own country and prefer to do so. But in certain circumstances patients may seek for some forms of healthcare to be provided abroad. Examples include injury or sickness during temporary stay abroad (holidays, business trip, study stay etc.), highly specialised care provided only in another country or healthcare in frontier areas where the nearest appropriate facility is on the other side of the border
Member States are responsible for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care. They are in particular responsible for determining which rules will apply to the reimbursement of patients and to the provision of healthcare. However, the EU contributes to their efforts by facilitating practical collaboration between different national health care systems and by facilitating access to cross-border health care. The EU can bring significant added value through enhanced cooperation to the benefit both of those patients who move between EU countries but also to the majority of those who do not move and receive healthcare in their home state.