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The European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) will discuss Estonia's experiences with the free movement of patients within the EU at its public meeting today.

Under a directive that entered into force two years ago, the patients who have been insured in the Estonian Health Insurance Fund may seek scheduled medical assistance in another EU Member State, and later apply for a financial compensation from the Fund. The directive allows Estonian medical institutions to export their health care services, i.e. patients from other countries can come to Estonia for treatment.

The Chairman of the EUAC Kalle Palling said that the option has not been very popular. “Estonian patients have not been active in using the opportunities of cross-border health care. The main obstacles to the free movement of patients are low awareness, language barriers, and the current system where the patient must first cover their own expenses and only seek compensation later,” Palling explained.

“The EUAC would like to hear the opinions of the different parties on whether there are any obstacles to the free movement of Estonian health care services both at the national and cross-border level, and what these obstacles are. We would also like to learn more about our options for exporting health care services,” Palling added.

Participants at the public meeting will include the Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski, as well as representatives of the Estonian Hospitals Association, the Estonian Association of Private Healthcare Providers, the Health Insurance Fund, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.

Last year, the Health Insurance Fund received 101 applications, 66 of which were approved and 25 rejected. Health care services had been mostly used in Germany, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Estonian patients had mostly sought surgical help, but had also visited ophthalmologists, neurologists, obstetricians and gynaecologists, as well as various other specialists.

The public sitting will start at 10.30 a.m. in the Conference Hall of the Riigikogu, and can be followed online

Riigikogu Press Service
Kati Varblane
Phone: 631 6353, 516 9152
kati.varblane@riigikogu.ee
Queries: press@riigikogu.ee

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