The question: “Hello Europe, I’m an Italian residing in Belgium for several years now. I’ve discovered that if you need non-urgent health care you must have it done in the country where you live. Couldn’t Europe make the member states let their citizens get care wherever they wanted to?”The response: “Hi, my name is Luiza Bara, I’m the head of policy at the European Public Health Alliance wich is the largest European platform for NGOs working on health issues in Europe. Now, in relation with the question, the first thing to note is that health care is a national issue not in the European area of competence, so people should not be looking to Europe to solve their health care concerns.
However, our citizens will want the best possible health care for themselves and their families when they need it and as close to them as possible. But in some circumstances, for example for specialist care, they may need to be treated in another European country.
The European Union is now working on a piece of legislation that is focusing on cross-border mobility of patients. Now, this new draft directive sets up more clearly the rules on accessing health care across borders and how this is reimbursed.
Essentially, someone would be able to get care in another country and the cost would be covered based on their reimbursement level, had they received the treatment at home. However it should be emphasised that only a tiny fraction of patients will actually want to seek treatment abroad and therefore benefit from this directive.”