With more and more people travelling within the EU, what happens if a European citizen needs healthcare in another Member State, and especially, what about the cost?
The TV report "Access to cross-border health care in the EU" shows how the issue of patient mobility is crucial in specific cases such as the urgent need for a treatment of rare diseases. A French patient is forced to receive treatment for Gorham disease in Spain, where there is a specialist of this rare disease and he can have a treatment in a shorter timeframe than in his home country. It also shows recent European Court judgements on the cross-border movement of patients:
The case of a British national who had to wait for one year to have an operation in the UK to heal the arthritis she suffered in both legs. Despite the refusal of the British health authorities, she travelled to France where her operation could be provided sooner. As the reimbursement of her medical expenses was refused, she took her case to the Court of Justice of the European Communities, which decided in favour of free circulation, reflecting the principle of patient mobility.
The second case features a Luxembourg national, who needed a new pair of eyeglasses. With his practitioner’s prescription from Luxembourg, he went to Arlon in Belgium to purchase the glasses. After refusal of the reimbursement and long legal proceedings, the European Court of Justice decided in his favour and his medical insurance company had to reimburse him.