Systems of social security coverage of health care are, essentially, national systems created to provide inhabitants and/or persons conducting a professional activity in a certain country with best possible health care. These systems are based on a notion that crucial criterion for granting someone access to health care should be that person’s clinical need instead of his/her ability to pay. However, there are situations when persons subject to one national social security system travel to another country in order to access health care there. These cases, therefore, qualify to some extent the national/territorial nature of social security systems. The aim of this paper is to analyse the EU rules on social security coverage of planned foreign health care (obtained abroad) and Croatian general rules on the same issue and to determine whether there are discrepancies between them. For that purpose, a comparative analysis of European and Croatian primary legal sources was carried out. The conducted analysis shows that there are significant discrepancies between the Croatian and the EU legal framework. As a consequence, the paper emphasises the need for Croatia to adjust its rules to the European ones. Therefore, Croatia should amend its legislation in order to grant persons, covered by its social health insurance, possibilities to access health care abroad (in EU Member States) without prior authorisation in some instances. Furthermore, Croatia should incorporate into its legal framework a legal entitlement to obtain health care treatment abroad if the same or equally effective treatment cannot be provided in Croatia within a time which is medically justifiable. Finally, the paper points to certain problems regarding the European approach, which should be open to future debate.
Key words: EU, social security, planned health care abroad, prior authorisation.