Under EU law, there are therefore two parallel ways to receive reimbursement of the costs of healthcare: either Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2009* apply, or the European directive 2011/24/EU* applies.

The European directive 2011/24/EU* states that, if the conditions in the regulations are met, then these take precedence and you should receive healthcare subject to the principles in the regulations, unless you decide otherwise and apply for the principles in the directive to be applied.

You require surgery, and have chosen to have the operation in a public hospital in France.
Since the planned operation requires at least one night to be spent in hospital, prior authorisation* is required.
You must request prior authorisation* from the medical officer* of your health insurance fund*.
The medical officer* decides, following a medical assessment, that
- the Belgian compulsory health insurance will reimburse the planned operation, and that
- the surgery can not be carried out within a medically acceptable period in Belgium, given your state of health.
The medical officer* must grant you a prior authorisation* to have this operation carried out in the French hospital. He will give you an S2 form* (= Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2004 apply), unless you state that you do not want an S2 form* but would prefer an ‘ad hoc’ document* (= European directive 2011/24/EU* applies).

For your info:
- S2 form* = the costs are reimbursed according to the rules and rates of the French compulsory health insurance regime;
- ‘ad hoc’ document* = you pay the bill up front, and the costs are reimbursed according to the rules and rates of the Belgian compulsory health insurance regime.


* cf. Glossary