Healthcare abroad: Medical Schengen zone is go
20 January 2011
“Your neighbour goes to Slovakia for varicose vein treatment. A German and a Czech are waiting for an appointment with a Polish ophthalmologist”. Gazeta Wyborcza reports on the future area MEPs dub the “Medical Schengen Zone”, to be created within the next three years by the directive on cross-border healthcare passed by the European Parliament on January 19. Under the new regulations, patients can seek medical treatment in other EU countries or in private health care institutions at home and be partially reimbursed for the costs involved. For example, as Dziennik Gazeta Prawna explains, a Polish patient paying €2959 for a cataract surgery in the UK is reimbursed €1,415, the cost of the operation back home. According to the European Commission, cross-border healthcare represents just 1% percent of the €10 billion patients spend annually in the EU.