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Reimbursement of healthcare purchased abroad

Updated 22 June 2017

The right to purchase goods and services freely among the EU states is one of the fundamental principles of the EU co-operation.

You are entitled to receive reimbursement from your Danish public health insurance of healthcare purchased in another EU/EEA state. This rule has been in effect for a long time. However, so far the rights have not been stipulated precisely in the EU legislation, but now a Directive and amendments to the Danish legislation has provided an exact framework for "cross-border healthcare" of the EU/EEA states.

The Directive states when you are entitled to seek healthcare in other states and receive full or part reimbursement of your expenses on your return to Denmark.

Please note that the rules described in this document does not affect your right to receive reimbursements from The Danish Tourist Health Insurance scheme (your yellow card) or Your European Health Insurance Card (your blue card)

Am I entitled to reimbursement for healthcare received in another EU state?

If you are covered by the Danish public health insurance scheme and have a health insurance card (yellow card), you are entitled to reimbursement.

If you are a resident of Denmark and are covered by the public health insurance scheme, but you have health insurance cover in Denmark at the expenses of another EU/EEA state, e.g. because you work abroad or only receive pension payments from another country, you need to apply for reimbursement from your foreign health insurance scheme.

Where can I purchase healthcare?

If you wish to receive reimbursement for healthcare in another country, you need to purchase the healthcare service in another EU/EEA state.

If you wish to receive reimbursement for healthcare in another country, you need to purchase the healthcare service in another EU/EEA state.

The following countries are EU/EAA states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom.

For which healthcare am I entitled to reimbursement?

You are entitled to reimbursement for healthcare received free of charge or treatments eligible for reimbursement in Denmark. Examples of such treatment are treatment received in a hospital or with a doctor/GP, a dentist, a physiotherapist, a psychologist or dental care for children.

See list of all the healthcare services eligible for reimbursement (in Danish)

See below information on reimbursement of expenses for hospital treatments.

See below information on reimbursement of expenses for medicines.

Healthcare not eligible for reimbursement

You are not entitled to reimbursement for costs for vaccinations which are included in the public vaccination schemes. Examples are vaccinations for children or influenza vaccinations given to certain groups of the Danish population.

You are not entitled to reimbursement for costs for vaccinations which are included in the public vaccination schemes. Examples are vaccinations for children or influenza vaccinations given to certain groups of the Danish population.

What are the conditions for receiving reimbursement?

You will need to pay for your healthcare abroad yourself. Subsequently, you can obtain reimbursement of your expenses. However, you are only entitled to reimbursement of an amount corresponding to the reimbursement which you would have received for the healthcare in Denmark.

The conditions for reimbursement are the same as those in force for healthcare received in Denmark. Thus, if you are not entitled to reimbursement for the healthcare in Denmark, you are not entitled to reimbursement if you receive the healthcare in another EU/EEA state.

Thus, for example:

  • The requirements for a referral from your GP or a prescription are identical for treatment in another EU/EEA state and Denmark. You must therefore be referred from a GP to a specialist (except citizens covered by Group 2). However, such a referral need not be obtained from your own GP in Denmark.  The referral may be obtained from a GP in another EU/EEA state. Please note that referral is not required for treatment with an otorhinolaryngologist or an ophthalmologist.
  • If special rules apply as regards who may obtain reimbursement in Denmark, these rules also apply when you apply for reimbursement for treatment in another EU/EEA state. For examples, rules may apply in relation to reimbursement of treatment rendered by psychologists, free physiotherapy or special reimbursement for dental care for cancer patients.
  • You will only be entitled to reimbursement of the same number of treatments, etc. as you would be entitled to in Denmark.

The therapist must be licenced by the authorities

Reimbursement is only granted for treatment rendered by foreign therapists which are licenced by the authorities.

Hospital treatment

If you have been referred to examination or treatment in a hospital, you may choose to receive your treatment in a hospital in another EU/EEA state and subsequently receive (partial) reimbursement of your expenses. The amount reimbursed would equal the price of the treatment if it had been carried out in Denmark. You will not be entitled to reimbursement in excess of the costs paid for the treatment abroad.

Apply for prior authorisation

Please note, that in some cases you will only receive reimbursement for your costs for hospital treatment in another EU/EEA state if you have applied for prior authorisation of the treatment.

For example, you will need prior authorisation if a treatment requires that you are admitted overnight, or if the treatment requires special planning or the use of highly specialised and expensive equipment. Sundhedsstyrelsen (The Danish Health Authority) has made a list on treatments requiring prior authorisation (in Danish).

We recommend that you make inquiries with your regional authorities regarding (full or partial) reimbursement of your expenses before you decide to receive hospital treatment abroad. If you do so, you will know in advance if you will receive partial reimbursement of your expenses, or if you will have to pay for the entire treatment yourself.

Prior authorisation is granted by the regional authorities. The name of your region is printed on your yellow health insurance card. Please enclose the following documentation with our application for prior authorisation:

  • a copy of the referral for hospital treatment from a doctor/GP
  • your permission for the regional authorities to seek further information about your health, etc. which are required in order to assess your application
  • a description from the hospital abroad of the treatment for which you seek prior authorisation
  • the date of your treatment at the hospital abroad
  • a price estimate from the hospital abroad.

If you are not a resident of Denmark, please also enclose the following:

  • a copy of your special yellow health insurance card.

Find information about the five Danish regions here:

Region Nordjylland (North Denmark Region)

Region Midtjylland (Central Denmark Region)

Region Syddanmark (Region of Southern Denmark)

Region Hovedstaden (Capital Region of Denmark)

Region Sjælland (Region Zealand)

How to apply for reimbursement

You need to apply for reimbursement with your municipal or regional authorities. The name of your municipality or region is printed on your yellow health insurance card.

You need to apply for reimbursement with your municipal or regional authorities. The name of your municipality or region is printed on your yellow health insurance card.

You need to apply for reimbursement with the municipal authorities if they offer reimbursement for the healthcare service in Denmark.

You need to apply for reimbursement with the regional authorities if they offer reimbursement for the healthcare service in Denmark.

See which Danish authority grants reimbursement for the various healthcare services (in Danish)

Which documentation is required in order to obtain reimbursement?

You will need to pay for your treatment abroad yourself. Subsequently, you can obtain (full or partial) reimbursement of your expenses. You are always required to enclose the correct documentation when you submit your application for reimbursement to your municipal or regional authorities. If you fail to do so, your application cannot be treated.

Please enclose the following documents with your application:

  • the original invoice and receipt
  • a description of the treatment purchased by you. This enables a comparison with the treatments for which reimbursement can be obtained in Denmark.
  • a copy of the referral from a doctor/GP or the prescription if relevant.

If you are not a resident of Denmark, please also enclose the following:

  • a copy of your special yellow health insurance card and
  • information about the account into which any reimbursement is to be paid.

If your application concerns reimbursement of expenses for hospital treatment and you have not obtained prior authorisation, the following documents must be enclose with your application to the regional authorities:

  • a copy of the referral for hospital treatment from a doctor/GP
  • your permission for the regional authorities to seek further information about your health, etc. which are required in order to assess your application.
  • a description from the hospital abroad of the treatment you have received including the date of your treatment at the hospital.

If you are not a resident of Denmark, please also enclose the following:

  • a copy of your special yellow health insurance card and
  • information about the account into which any reimbursement is to be paid.

How is my reimbursement calculated?

Fixed rules exist for the calculation of reimbursement of treatment:

  • Reimbursements which are set at a fixed amount in DKK will be granted at the same fixed amount in DKK which would have applied if the treatment had been purchased in Denmark.
  • Reimbursements granted as a percentage of the price of the treatment will be calculated based on the price of the same treatment in Denmark.
  • For treatments which are provided free of charge in Denmark, reimbursement is granted at a sum corresponding to the price of the treatment in Denmark.

Expenses for hospital treatment will be reimbursed at an amount corresponding to the costs of the treatment in Denmark.

You will not be entitled to reimbursement in excess of the costs paid for the treatment abroad.

Where do I complain about a decision in relation to reimbursement?

Complaints should be submitted to Styrelsen for Patientklager (Danish Agency for Patient Complaints) if you are not satisfied with the decision by the municipal or regional authorities in relation to your application for reimbursement of costs for treatment abroad.

Complaints should be submitted to (Danish Patient Safety Authority) if you are not satisfied with the decision by the municipal or regional authorities in relation to your application for reimbursement of costs for treatment abroad.

Am I entitled to reimbursement of costs for medicines?

The Danish rules on reimbursement for medicines that you buy on prescription also apply if you purchase medicines in another EU/EEA state. The rules apply both if you purchase the medicines during a visit to another EU/EEA state and if you purchase the medicines "on-line" from home from a pharmacy or a vendor in another EU/EEA state.

The Danish rules on reimbursement for medicines that you buy on prescription also apply if you purchase medicines in another EU/EEA state. The rules apply both if you purchase the medicines during a visit to another EU/EEA state and if you purchase the medicines "on-line" from home from a pharmacy or a vendor in another EU/EEA state.

Lægemiddelstyrelsen (The Danish Medicines Agency) administers reimbursement for medicines purchased in another EU/EEA state.

Please refer to the website of the Authority for further information about reimbursement of costs for medicines

Information about therapists and terms in relation to treatment abroad

If you need help in finding information about health service staff or hospitals in other EU states, you can seek assistance from the National Contact Points established throughout the EU.

National Contact Points

The National Contact Points will assist you in finding information on professional standards and guidelines for the health profession in the relevant EU state. They can also help you find information about your rights as a patient in the state in question.

The National Contact Points will assist you in finding information on professional standards and guidelines for the health profession in the relevant EU state. They can also help you find information about your rights as a patient in the state in question.

In Denmark, Styrelsen for Patientsikkerhed (Danish Patient Safety Authority) is the National Contact Point.

See all National Contact Points in the EU states

Where do I complain about treatment received in another EU/EEA state?

If you are not satisfied with treatment received abroad, you are covered by the rules governing complains and compensation in force in the state in which you received the treatment.

Thus, you cannot complain or seek compensation under Danish law for treatment purchased in another EU/EEA state.

The National Contact Point in the state in which you received treatment will be able to help you find information about complaint procedures and applications for compensation.