(CN) – European Union nations are not required to fully reimburse each other for the costs of emergency health care provided while a national is visiting another EU state, Europe’s high court ruled.
The case involved a patient insured under Spain’s public health care system who sought reimbursement after receiving emergency medical care at a hospital in France.
After Spain refused to reimburse the patient more than a set amount under the national system, the European Commission sued, claiming Spain violated the principle of freedom to provide services.
The EU’s Court of Justice ruled that the Spanish law does not restrict the freedom of insured citizens to travel and receive coverage in other member states, because it counterbalances costs among member nations.
Imposing complementary reimbursement could expose nations with high costs to increasing disparity, the court added. This would undermine the system, the court said, as insured citizens could travel to other states solely to fill the gaps in their national health care system.
The Luxembourg-based court dismissed the commission’s lawsuit entirely.