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Frequently Asked Questions

 
This Directive will not affect the benefits already offered to citizens through the existing Regulations on social security, which have their basis in the EU Treaty article on free movement of people. However, it clarifies those patients' rights that have their basis in the free movement of services, and which have been set out in various European Court of Justice rulings. In the case of hospital care, one of the main achievements of this new Directive is that patients will be able to choose their healthcare provider. For non-hospital care, patients will be able to seek healthcare abroad without prior authorisation or formalities, and claim reimbursement upon their return home.
 
Other advantages of the new legislation are:
  • More choice: the Directive covers all healthcare providers in the EU.
  • Less red-tape for patients: under the Directive, seeking prior authorisation should be the exception rather than the rule.
  • Information to patients: patients will receive all information they need to make an informed choice, for example on quality and safety of healthcare, through National Contact Points, which will be set up in all Member States. Moreover, the Directive introduces new measures to help all patients make the best use of their rights under both pieces of legislation.
  • Procedural guarantees: all patients are entitled to properly reasoned decisions, and to appeal if they feel their rights have not been respected. All patients have the right to complain and to seek redress (and all treatment must be covered by liability insurance or a similar guarantee). And patients have the right to a copy of their medical record.
(Source: EU Commission MEMO/11/32.)
 
 
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