EU Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card allows the holder access to health services in other EU or EEA countries.  It allows an EU/Irish resident to avail of public healthcare in other EU countries if he or she becomes ill or injured on a temporary stay.  In the case of the United Kingdom, it is sufficient to show ordinary residence in Ireland.

A person is entitled to health care on the same basis as a resident of the EU state.  In some cases, there is a partial payment with reimbursement from the public service in the country concerned.

Treatment Abroad Scheme

The Treatment Abroad scheme may allow for the cost of approved treatments in other EU/EEA states.  An Irish-based consultant may refer a patient normally resident in Ireland to another such state. The application must be followed by a clinical assessment certifying and recommending that the treatment is medically necessary, is not experimental.  Certain conditions/procedures apply.

Treatment abroad may be available where benefits provided by Irish legislation are not available in Ireland or not available within the time necessary for obtaining it in Ireland, taking account of the current state of health and probable course of the disease.

Following clinical assessment, the evidence must be given by their referring hospital consultant giving details of the condition, treatment envisaged and the provider.  Their referring consultant must certify certain matters.  The application must be referred to the HSE TAS office to allow assessment and decision.  The decision must be made within a certain timeframe.

Cross-Border Health Directive

The Cross-Border Health Directive for persons entitled to public treatment in Ireland applies from 2011.  The Directive seeks to give persons entitled to public patient healthcare the right to seek healthcare in other EU states, subject to procedures and conditions.

It allows for patients resident in Ireland and availing of public health services to be referred for health care publicly funded by another EU state.  Under the Directive, reimbursement is allowed at the cost of healthcare abroad or the identified cost in Ireland.

There must be a referral by a GP, hospital consultant or, in some cases, by an HSE professional.  The referral must state the required healthcare, give details of the hospital location, and provide evidence as to qualification and suitability. The funding may be reimbursed in accordance with reimbursement rates.

An application form must be made for assessment by the HSE.  It is submitted to the CBD office.  Service involving an overnight or longer stay requires prior authorisation.


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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