If you are resident in Ireland you can choose to access healthcare in other countries in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (the EEA also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland.
In general, the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive only covers treatments that are available in Ireland while the Treatment Abroad Scheme covers treatments that are not available in Ireland.
If a treatment is covered by the Treatment Abroad Scheme, you cannot get a refund for it under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, so it is important to apply under the appropriate scheme. The differences are summarised below, with links to more detailed information.
The European Health Insurance Card does not entitle you to travel abroad with the aim of getting public healthcare. It covers unplanned healthcare for Irish residents who become sick or injured while travelling in another country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
If you are entitled to health services that are publicly funded and available in Ireland, you may opt to access those services in another member state of the EU or EEA under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.
If you are a public healthcare patient and require treatment that is not available in Ireland or, taking account of your medical circumstances, is not available within the time normally necessary to obtain it, you may be able to use the Treatment Abroad Scheme to get the treatment in another country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.