Updated : 12/2011
If you fall ill unexpectedly during a trip to an EU country and you need to visit a doctor, you don't need to cut short your visit to return home for treatment. Take your European Health Insurance Card with you to a local doctor.
Remember that health care and social security systems vary from one EU country to another. In some countries you may have to pay the doctor directly for treatment, while in others no money changes hands. In some countries, you are free to choose which doctor you visit, while in others your treatment will be reimbursed only if it is given by doctors affiliated to the public health system.
Be sure to visit a doctor affiliated to the statutory health care system, as private health care is not covered by the European Health Insurance Card.
Ewa went with a broken leg on a business trip to another EU country. As her leg started to hurt, she went to see a doctor. Back home, she received an invoice for the treatment, which was not refunded by her national health insurer: the doctor had treated her as a private patient.
You are entitled to health care under the same terms as residents of the country you are visiting. It is advisable to take your European Health Insurance Card with you for all trips abroad - this will help with reimbursement when you are back home.
There is a big difference in procedures between unforeseen health treatment – when you fall ill abroad – and planned medical treatment abroad. For planned treatment in another EU country, you must ask for prior authorisation from your health insurer to be sure of reimbursement.
In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland