Cross-border healthcare in EU Member States

Cross-border healthcare in EU Member States

The EU Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare was adopted on 19th January 2011 and published in the EU's Official Journal on 9th March 2011. It entered into application on 25th October 2013.

The Directive clarifies patients' rights to access safe and good quality treatment across EU borders and be reimbursed for it. Patients travelling to another EU country for medical care have a right to equal treatment to the citizens of the country in which they are treated. If they are entitled to that healthcare at home, then they will be reimbursed by their home country. Their reimbursement will be up to the cost of that treatment at home. In some cases, they may be required to apply for authorisation before travelling for treatment, in particular if the treatment requires an overnight stay at hospital or highly specialised and cost-intensive healthcare. Patients will be reimbursed the same amount as they receive in their home country for the same type of healthcare.

Reimbursement of cross-border healthcare

The Directive covers all healthcare services provided by health professionals to patients to assess, maintain and restore their health, including the prescription and dispensation of medicinal products and medical devices.

Not all healthcare is automatically reimbursed. It is important to be aware that Member State entirely makes the decision on which healthcare services are reimbursed and at what level. In principle, patients are entitled to receive reimbursement for the same or similar healthcare and for the same amount as they can receive in their home country.

As a rule, patients who access the planned cross-border healthcare under the Directive have to pay the healthcare provider up-front. The reimbursement will be made by the competent institution in their home Member State.

Patients could claim reimbursement no later than 1 year after the provision of healthcare services or acquisition of medicines or medical devices in the Member State of treatment. For more information and to be ascertained that you do not have any difficulties in claiming back your money, you should contact Lithuanian Territorial Health Insurance Fund (THIF) before making any arrangements abroad. 

Claiming for the reimbursement of the costs of cross-border healthcare the patient should present the application form for reimbursement of the costs of cross-border healthcare, an identity document, original financial documents and copies of medical records as well as the referral for such treatment to THIF.

What are the costs of cross-border healthcare which are not reimbursed?

• Costs related to cross-border healthcare: travel costs, accommodation, food, transport costs, translation services, etc.

• Patient fees paid to the healthcare provider in the Member State of treatment;

• Expenditure on healthcare services which are not included into the list of reimbursable services approved by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania;

• Expenditure on medicines, medical devices and medical aids which are not included into the lists approved by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Directive does not cover treatment outside the EEA. It also does not cover treatment that is not available in Lithuania. The Directive does not apply to services of long-term care to support people in their daily routines (such as in care homes), organ transplants, or national vaccination campaigns. If you are unsure whether you are entitled to reimbursement of costs of a particular treatment, please, contact THIF.

National Contact Points provide information, in accordance with the laws of the given Member State, on the terms of using healthcare, healthcare providers, patients' rights, complaint procedures, legal remedies, and on legal and administrative opportunities.

PLEASE NOTE! The European Commission publishes the availability of the Contact Points after the implementation date. The list is continuously being refreshed.












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