Can I bring someone with me?
Many patients bring a travel companion with them to their treatment. Provided certain conditions are met, travel companions and next of kin can also claim reimbursement for their travel expenses.
A travel companion is someone who accompanies a patient to and from the treatment centre. This could be a neighbour, friend, next of kin or other private individual. A travel companion may be entitled to claim back their travel expenses according to the same rules as the patient when a treatment provider documents that a travel companion is necessary for health reasons.
Reimbursement for travel companions
Travel companions can apply for reimbursement for their travel expenses after they have completed their journey. If it can be documented that public transport has been used, both the patient and an essential travel companion can claim reimbursement for their travel expenses.
Travel by car is reimbursed at a single standard rate per kilometre, regardless of the number of passengers. The travel companion does not have to pay a user fee for the trip. Travel companions can apply for support for lost earnings.
If the travel companion’s journey exceeds 300 kilometres, this will be reimbursed in the same way as for the patient. This means that their expenses will be reimbursed as if the journey had been made via the cheapest form of public transport available on the route.
Travel companions on requisitioned travel using adapted transport
If you have a requisition for a journey, your treatment provider must state on the requisition that you must be accompanied by a travel companion on the journey.
Travel companions accompanying children
Children under the age of 18 can be accompanied by a travel companion without any need for documentation from the treatment provider. If you are applying for reimbursement of your travel expenses as a guardian of a child aged between 12 and 18, you must enclose confirmation that the child has attended their treatment appointment (confirmation of attendance) with your application. This is to safeguard the child's privacy.
Travel expenses for one travel companion will normally be reimbursed, but both parents can claim reimbursement for their travel expenses when their child is being admitted to hospital, regardless of whether or not they travel with the child.
Two travel companions
In some cases, a patient may need to be accompanied by two travel companions due to their health. The treatment provider must state this in a requisition or separate document, which must then be enclosed with the application.
Qualified travel companion
A qualified travel companion on a journey means a travel companion who can provide medical treatment if necessary. Examples of this are a nurse, doctor, physiotherapist and midwife. Under certain circumstances, other people may also be considered to be a qualified travel companion, such as a police officer, specialist teacher, interpreter for the deaf or ordinary interpreter.
Next of kin
If you accompany a patient as their next of kin to or from treatment, you will be considered to be their travel companion and be entitled to claim your travel expenses according to the same rules as a patient and travel companion. However, if you wish to visit someone who has been admitted to hospital as their next of kin, you will not normally be entitled to claim your travel expenses if you travel without the patient.
There are some exceptions to this rule. Next of kin will be reimbursed for their travel expenses in the following cases:
- When a child under the age of 14 travels to visit a guardian with a life-threatening illness, who is unable to return home from the treatment centre. The treating doctor must confirm that the disease is life-threatening and that the treatment will last for at least two weeks.
- When close relatives travel to a psychiatric outpatient clinic for children and adolescents (BUP) or a family counselling office. The relatives must be invited by a senior specialist.
- When close relatives travel to a centre of expertise for people with rare and little-known diagnoses and disabilities.
- When close relatives travel to courses or training run by a health institution. In order for next of kin to be covered for courses or training run by a health institution, they must be invited or referred, the course or training must have medical- or treatment-related content, and course attendance must be necessary for the future support of the patient.
- When the next of kin are children under the age of 18 and are travelling to visit a medical practitioner in order to receive information and essential follow-up because their sibling or parent is a patient. This applies in the case of:
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Severe somatic disease/injury
- The right does not apply when the child travels to visit, or be with, their parents or siblings.
‘Close relatives’ means spouse, cohabiting partner, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, children-in-law, parents-in-law and siblings, as well other members of the same household.
When next of kin make such journeys, the application must be submitted using the paper-based travel expenses claim form. If, as the patient’s next of kin, you have accompanied a patient to or from treatment, see the information about travel companions.
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