Cross-border healthcare

A legislative framework

In some circumstances, it might be desirable to seek medical treatment outside your home country:

  • you live near a border, and the hospital, doctor, etc. in the neighbouring country is closest to you
  • you have to wait too long to access treatment in your own country
  • you need specialised treatment.

New rules on treatment and reimbursement

Over the last decade, the EU Court of Justice has issued rulings confirming the right for patients to be treated outside their home country and reimbursed under certain conditions, but the applicable rules were still not entirely clear.

Directive 2011/24/EU on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare clarifies these rules.  In addition:

  • it creates a network of national contact points to provide clear, accurate information on cross-border healthcare
  • it helps EU countries share experiences on how to provide patients with the best possible care, for example using new health technologies
  • it creates EU rules on a minimum list of elements to be included in a medical prescription taken by a patient travelling from one EU country to another (cross-border prescription).

Before you go...

You should:

  • know the terms and conditions which apply both to the care you will receive and any reimbursement to which you're entitled
  • be adequately informed about the quality and safety of the treatment offered elsewhere
  • know how to make a complaint and find appropriate solutions in case something goes wrong
  • get more information about your rights to access healthcare in another EU country consult on Your Europe portal
  • Contact National Contact Point in your country