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Updated : 17/11/2016

Going to a doctor/hospital abroad

If you need to see a doctor or get hospital treatment during a trip to another EU country, having your European Health Insurance Card with you will make administration and reimbursement for public health care much easier.

Remember that health care and social security systems vary from one EU country to another. In some countries you might have to pay the doctor or the hospital directly for treatment, even though you may not normally do that in your home country. You can find information about the healthcare system in the country you visit online, from a national healthcare institution, a National Contact Point, or through the EHIC smartphone application.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is accepted only by doctors or hospitals affiliated to the statutory health care system - private health care is not covered. If you use private health care, you may be able to claim reimbursement when you get home - but you should check your rights first, as reimbursement rules can vary.

Sample story

Make sure you are treated under the local public health care system

Despite having a broken arm, Ewa went on a business trip to another EU country. While she was there, her arm started to hurt, so she went to see a doctor. When she got home, she received a bill for the treatment. She discovered that the cost was not covered by her insurer under the EHIC system because the doctor had treated her as a private patient. Ewa was able to claim some money back from her insurer, but not all of it, as the cost of the treatment abroad was higher than in her own country.

If you travel abroad specifically for medical treatment, you will be covered under different rules.

Find out more about payments and reimbursements.

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