A European country need not pick up the complete health bill of a national who needs hospital care during a visit to another EU state, according to a recent communication from the European Court of Justice.
The case was brought by the European Commission which argued that Spain breached the principle of freedom to provide services after it refused to cover hospital costs that a Spanish resident had to pay for unscheduled care in France.
But the court ruled that Spain was not required to pay for costs that are not covered under the French health care system.
The insured person "has no right, in principle," to insurance coverage from Spain for costs that are not covered by another European Union country and must be paid by the patient, the court said.
The court pointed to two exceptions to the rule.
A European country must cover costs when a person needs "immediate, urgent, life-saving" treatment in another EU state and cannot go home to be hospitalised, the court ruled.
A state must also reimburse a patient who gets authorisation to get treatment for care that is not available in the home country.