Ireland lodges medical costs claims with 23 European states

About 60,000 citizens of other European countries treated by health service each year

An estimated 60,000 citizens of other European countries are treated in the Irish health service each year as visitors use their European Health Insurance Card or a UK entitlement document. File photograph: Getty Images

An estimated 60,000 citizens of other European countries are treated in the Irish health service each year as visitors use their European Health Insurance Card or a UK entitlement document. File photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland has lodged substantial claims with 23 European countries in respect of the cost of treatment of their citizens by the health service here.

The Department of Health has also terminated a number of agreements it had with five EU states to waive medical expenses as part of a stronger drive to recoup costs under EU regulations.

The sums of money being sought from continental European states remain small compared to the amount the department receives each year under a bilateral healthcare reimbursement agreement with the UK. However, the value of these payments has dropped sharply in recent years; from €320 million in 2010 to €172 million last year.

An estimated 60,000 citizens of other European countries are treated in the Irish health service each year as visitors use their European Health Insurance Card or a UK entitlement document.

Other states

Health Service Executive

Claims to the value of €1.3 million have recently been issued, and further bills will be issued on a twice-yearly basis. This excludes the figure for the UK.

EU regulations provide for medical costs to be reimbursed between member states but they also allow states to agree alternative arrangements or for states to waive payments.

Ireland had waiver agreements with many western European countries but those with the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium and France were terminated over the past seven years.

Waiver agreements remain in place with Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden, in addition to the bilateral agreement with the UK.

Claims have now been issued to the following European states – Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

The regulations, which require claims to be settled within 18 months, provide for people covered by the healthcare system in one state to receive services in another at the cost of the state in which they are insured. This may include people who are employed or pensioners in one state and resident in another and their dependants, as well as temporary visitors.

About one million people have migrated to Ireland since 2000, though numbers have fallen sharply since 2007.