EU Adopts Rules On Cross-Border Healthcare

19 January 2011
The European Parliament today (Wednesday) adopted a final legislative compromise on new EU rules on access and rights to cross-border healthcare.

Smith welcomed the legislation as striking the right balance - encouraging EU-wide cooperation on health matters while maintaining the rights of Member States to run their own healthcare services.

Smith said:

"The legislation adopted today is an important step forward for patients' rights in the EU. The final compromise adopted today strikes the right balance between guaranteeing patients' rights to cross-border healthcare and safeguarding the provision of quality health services at national level.

"Patients will have the right to get hospital treatment in other member states and be reimbursed as they would for receiving the treatment at home, however this right should not be at the expense of the viability of national health systems.

"The final compromise allows member states to establish a reasonable system of prior authorisation for the reimbursement of treatment costs, with MEPs succeeding in limiting the list of reasons for which a patient can be refused cross-border treatment. Importantly, member states would no longer be able to refuse reimbursement after prior authorisation has been granted, which was a key issue. The establishment of a ‘contact point’ in each country to provide information to patients considering seeking treatment abroad will also make the process much easier."

The European Parliament press release can be found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/en/pressroom/content/20110119IPR11941/html/Clearer-rules-on-seeking-healthcare-abroad