If you’re thinking of going to another country specifically for medical treatment, different rules apply than those for getting necessary care whilst abroad on a trip. It's important to note that your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) does not cover going abroad for planned treatment.
First, you should discuss your plans with your doctor before you make any travel or medical arrangements. They will refer you to your local health commissioner who will discuss the options available to you and will confirm the following:
If going to an EEA country, 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.
S2 (Previously E112)
The S2 (or E112) form entitles you to treatment in the state-funded sector in another EEA country and Swtzerland. Treatment will be provided under the same conditions of care and payment as residents of that country. This could mean you have to pay percentage of the costs upfront.
For example, in some countries, patients cover 25% of the costs of their state-provided treatment, known as ``-co-payment`` charge. The state would cover 75%. If you received treatment under the health care system, you would be expected to pay the same reimbusement for this cost when you are back in the UK if you are not able to do so in the other country.
Equally, in some countries care is completely free at the point of delivery, as in the UK. This means the S2 will cover 100% of the cost of your care, so you would not be required to pay any treatment costs upfront.
The system works with the NHS paying the treating country’s contribution. If the amount paid by the NHS to the treating institution on your behalf is less than the treatment would have cost to provide locally in the UK, and you have had to pay co-payment charges, you can claim the reimbursement of these charges up to the cost of providing the care locally by the NHS.
For example, if you go abroad for an operation costing £8,000, and are expected to pay a standard patient co-payment charge of 25%, you will pay £2,000. The NHS will pay the remaining £6,000 to the treating institution.
If the cost of treating you at home would have been £7,500 you could then claim back the extra £1,500 budgeted by the NHS to help cover the co-payment charge that you have paid.
Since the treatment is £500 more expensive than on the NHS, you would have to pay this portion yourself, and could not be reimbursed for it.
Route Article 56 (previously Article 49), named after the relevant section of the Treaty on the Functioning of the Euopean Union (TFEU, or the Lisbon Treaty), may allow you to obtain a reimbursement of the costs of planned medical treatment you receive in another EEA country. Your treatment must be one that is available through the NHS. However, there is no guarantee that you will receive funding.
Your local NHS commissioner can only issue a reimbursement for up to the cost of being treated locally under the NHS. Unlike using form S2 or the E112 form, you can receive this financial contribution towards either private or state-provided treatment.
Be aware that you will have to pay for the total cost of treatment upfront, and can normally only apply for reimbursement after your treatment has been completed and paid for. Even if your treatment abroad is cheaper than it would be under the NHS, you cannot be reimbursed more than you have paid for your medical treatment.
If you wish to apply under Article 56, you should consult your local health commissioner. They can work out the cost of local treatment under the NHS, and therefore the maximum amount you can claim as a reimbursement.
Additional Savings for our Irish Patients
You can possibly reduce the cost of your dental treatment even more by claiming treatments against Irish Income Tax. All you have to do is to complete a Med1 form at the end of the tax year. Bring a Med2-form with you to Budapest, have your dentist complete it when your treatment is finished and send it to your regional Revenue Office. These forms can be downloaded here. Check revenue.ie for further information on tax relief claims. Please note that some treatments do not qualify for tax relief.
Here is a link for the insurance system regarding Irish patients:
Implants dentaires et bridge céramique - Témoignage de Claudine L.