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European healthcare costs - who picks up the bill ?

Thu 10th Jun 2010

The Country responsible for picking up the bill for any medical treatment whenever a patient crosses EU borders has now been cleared up with the EU member states finally agreeing on new rules.

In short, the patient's 'country of primary residence' will now have to pay for the treatment if he went to another EU state to recieve it.

However, if a patient living outside his country of origin chooses to go back home for treatment, then it is the country of origin that is to pick up the cost.

This was seen as a resounding victory for Spain, who made the proposal, where a significant number of retired people move to from other EU countries and place huge demands on the National Healthcare and does not want health tourism to destabilise this.

The proposal is to negotiate a directive on European patient mobility rights at the European Parliament. The consensus among the EU member states is that this should not apply to any emergency care that is required for Europeans travelling outside home country.

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