Many countries have reciprocal arrangements for the provision of emergency and planned medical care.
If you are considering going for a consultation abroad, discuss your plans with your doctor and private insurance company before you make any medical or travel arrangements. They will advise you on your options.
Things to consider
- whether you would be eligible for reimbursement of any costs and if so precisely how much;
- the conditions under which you will be treated abroad;
- any programme of after-care or follow-up treatment you might require upon your return to your country.
In most cases you will need to provide your chosen treatment centre with a payment guarantee from your insurer or national insurance scheme, or if this is not possible, you would be billed directly and you could attempt to recoup some of your costs once you return home.
If you choose to go abroad for healthcare, it is strongly advisable to insure yourself against unforeseen problems such as medical complications, transport home, loss of possessions, etc.
Bear in mind that after treatment, you may not be fully fit for some time and so you may need to make certain special arrangements for your trip home and recovery period.
Special advice for British citizens
If you are thinking of going to another country specifically for medical treatment, different rules apply than those for getting necessary care whilst abroad on a trip. Ask your GP to refer you to your Local Health Commissioner who can advise you in detail. Local commissioners should always give such requests serious consideration, taking into account the individual’s circumstances.
- Getting treatment in the European Economic Area (EEA): Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does not cover going abroad for planned treatment. There are two routes for obtaining NHS funding. You can use the S2 form (previously E112) issued by the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle) or, alternatively, you can go under Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (previously Article 49 of the EC Treaty). Your local commissioner can advise you on which option is better for the type of treatment you require. Each option works in a slightly different way.
- Getting treatment in non-EEA countries: Contact the HMRC Centre for Non-residents on 0845 915 4811 for more information.