Intended for healthcare professionals


Spain plans to recoup €1bn by properly charging EU countries for their citizens’ use of its health services

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 23 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2900
  1. Aser García Rada
  1. 1Madrid

The Spanish government plans to save €1bn by more efficiently billing health tourists’ countries of origin. At the moment Spain misses out on the money because of an incorrect interpretation of European Union regulations on healthcare provided to foreigners, concludes a recent report of the Court of Accounts.

The report says that the wrong interpretation of the EU directive 2004/38 on the free movement of citizens within the EU cost Spain €917m (£750m; $1.2bn) in 2009 for healthcare it provided to 700 000 foreigners, for which regional governments failed to extract reimbursement from the home countries.

Ana Mato, Spain’s minister of health, social services, and equality, and the heads of regional health departments announced the measure among others to …

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