Who pays for health treatment when a patient crosses EU borders to get it has been cleared up with the member countries’ agreement on new rules.
Basically, a patient’s country of primary residence would have to pay for the treatment if he went to another EU state for it.
But if a patient living outside his country of origin chooses to go back there for treatment, then it is the country of origin which picks up the cost.
This was notably reassuring for countries in the south of Europe, such as current EU presiding nation Spain, which made the proposal, as these countries are home to a lot of pensioners from northern states, such as the UK.
Before seeking treatment in a third EU country, the patient would need to get approval from the health care authorities in his country of primary residence.
The EU member states do not want health tourism to destabilise their national systems.
The idea now is to negotiate a directive on European patient mobility rights with the European Parliament.
The consensus among the EU countries does not apply to emergency care for Europeans travelling outside their home states.