NHS Refund for planned medical treatment abroad? How it is possible to get a refund for treatment abroad and is it legal? A new European Union directive states that a patient living in the UK has the right to choose a service provider in the EEA (European Economic Area) and can lawfully get NHS refund for treatment abroad the costs from the NHS. This means that any person living in the UK can seek healthcare abroad and be reimbursed. Well known European Health Insurance Card is well known, but it does not cover private clinics and planned treatment, but the new European Union directive dose.
If you are planning to receive treatment abroad, or have already received treatment abroad – you have the right to seek reimbursement for any of the following treatments:
- Emergency or necessary medical care for acute problems.
- Outpatient services such as doctor consultations, various types of diagnostics, dental care, medical care received in outpatient departments of hospitals, arthroscopic surgery, vein surgery, laser eye surgery, etc.
- Inpatient health care services that require an overnight hospital stay. In this case, prior authorisation from the NHS will be required. We, therefore, recommend contacting us before you travel to enable us to obtain the necessary authorisation.
Necessary documents to get a refund for treatment abroad
The EU directive states that residents of the UK have the right to receive medical treatment in the EEA and Switzerland. If you choose to be treated abroad the NHS can reimburse the cost of treatment, up to the same amount it would cost for your treatment in an NHS clinic.
You will need two proofs of residence: for example a bank statement, lease/tenancy agreement or utility bill.
In order to be reimbursed, you will also need a receipt/invoice or other proof of payment detailing you as the patient (name, personal identification number) and a letter/report from the clinician (e.g. GP/ Consultant), describing the condition/diagnosis, and confirming the medical need for the treatment.
If this document does not specify the treatment received (i.e. marked simply as “dental care” or “medical services”) you will need a report/statement or other document with more detailed information about the services received and a breakdown of costs along with a letter from the care provider (Doctor, or any other person that is authorised to sign documents in the clinic).
Documents must be in English or translated to English. We can arrange a translation for you.
What treatment abroad can be refunded by the NHS?
You are entitled to claim from the NHS if you receive the following three services abroad:
- Urgent or emergency medical assistance. Any medical assistance that is considered as urgent or necessary when travelling in an EEC country. For example, Mike lives in Manchester and travels to Spain through France on his summer holiday. Unfortunately, he has an accident that requires hospital treatment. Mike receives medical treatment in France which he pays for. On his return to the UK Mike is entitled to have his costs reimbursed by the NHS. In other words, all unplanned medical services that you had abroad.
- Outpatient services or health care services, which do not require an overnight stay in hospital. For example, Mike lives in London and has regular daily headaches. He visits his GP and is prescribed pain relief. After several months without any improvement in his condition, Mike decides to consult a Physician in France. Tests reveal a cyst has developed near to Mike’s nasal cavity that requires surgery. Mike is entitled to reimbursement for the costs incurred from medical consultations and examinations. * Usual outpatient services are MRI, CT, USG or other diagnostic scans, consultation, physiotherapy, one day surgeries, fertility treatment, etc.
- Pre-planned inpatient hospital treatment. For pre-arranged hospital treatment authorisation is required from the NHS prior to treatment. Contact us before going abroad and we will apply for authorisation on your behalf. For example, Mike decides to have surgery in France and his treatment will involve a two night stay in hospital… He needs to obtain a permit in the UK prior to travel. Usually planned treatments abroad are ACL reconstruction, gynaecological operations, spinal disc decompression surgery, abdominoplasty, labiaplasty etc.
The application process to get a refund for treatment abroad from NHS?
- Send us the necessary documents for reimbursement.
- We will evaluate the documents and will contact you if we need additional information.
- We will prepare a request for reimbursement of your costs through the NHS.
The NHS will confirm reimbursement via email and once confirmed, the NHS will send you a cheque within thirty days.
Don’t wait in a queue – go abroad!
If you are on a waiting list waiting for an operation or any other service that is available under the NHS you can exercise your right to have your treatment done in private clinic abroad. We will organise your trip and claim reimbursement from the NHS.
Some NHS patients are not receiving specialist consultations while others are refused help for varicose vein problems, gastric bypass surgery and cataract operations. Patients are entitled to receive treatment under the NHS and can elect to go abroad to receive it. You can legally jump the NHS queue and get a refund for treatment abroad!