New developments in cross-border healthcare directive

A step forward for patients this week, as the Council passed the cross-border healthcare directive, leaving way for the next phase of negotiations.

The draft directive aims to facilitate high quality, equitable healthcare for all citizens, whether at home or abroad. One of the provisions of the directive on patient rights to cross-border healthcare is that patients will be allowed to receive healthcare treatment in another Member State and be reimbursed up to the level of reimbursement application for the same of similar treatment in their national healthcare system.  A stipulation however to the directive implies that a Member State of affiliation “may limit the application of the rules on reimbursement for cross-border healthcare should there be a risk to the financial balance of a social security system”. Although this Directive is very important, more still needs to done to make it really work for patients.

Patients’ groups particularly call for mechanisms to be set in place for alternative means of payment that would not leave patients to bear the whole costs of cross-border healthcare up-front.  Without such mechanisms, the vast majority of the population would not be able to benefit in practice from the new rights granted to them under the Directive. 

EPF is closely monitoring these new developments to ensure that the patients perspective is represented throughout each stage.

The next negotiations will take place in Autumn of this year.

More information on EPF’s work on this Directive, can be found here.

The press release from the Council of the European Union is available here.