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Questions and answers about the Cross-border Directive

13.11.2013

What is the Cross-border Directive and why it is necessary?
 
Latvia must adopt the European Union Directive about cross border co-operation on health care by 5th of October this year, which provides that Latvian citizens (just like citizens of other EU countries) will be able to receive health care services and prescription drugs in any of the EU country.
 
What will the conditions be for getting the state-funded medical treatment in another EU country?
 
• medical services that are in our country's state funded list will only be paid;
• the amount of expenditure for this service provided to a patient in Latvia is the same per the specified tariff;
• the requirements for receiving the services are the same as they were previously (for example, to receive a service or a consultation it is necessary to have a referral);
• other countries may require that prior permission is obtained to receive expensive, specialized, hospital provided services; Latvia will provide it till October 25;
• any other costs will not be paid (for example, travelling expenses, subsistence costs, patient fees etc.)
 
How will the provision of a services and the reimbursement of costs will be provided?
 
• when receiving a service, a patient will pay all necessary expenses by himself and when returning to Latvia, will submit evidence of payments to the National Health Service, which is appointed as the Competent authority in our country;
• for a patient to get health care services abroad remunerated, a general practitioner’s or specialist doctor’s referral is necessary – same as it is when receiving the service in Latvia. Referral with a check about received service will have to be submitted to the National Health Service;
• over a set period of time, a patient will receive an amount of money that is equivalent to the cost of the same service in Latvia (for example, a Latvian citizen received an operation in another country and the cost was 1000 Lats and the equivalent cost of that operation in Latvia is 600 Lats, then the patient will receive 600 Lats).
 
Where to find additional information?
Additional information about chances of getting health care in EU member states and partial asset recovery (according to specified service pay rate in Latvia) it will be possible to receive in the autumn in the National Health Service, where the necessary contact details for communication from each Competent authority will be available.
 
What will be the opportunities to buy reimbursed medications abroad?
In the case of buying reimbursed drugs in other EU member state, according to a special doctor’s given prescription, it is provided that money that is paid for the referential medicine in the list of particular medicines and medical devices which is provided in Latvia will be reimbursed. In Latvia the cheapest, equally efficient medicine will be paid.
 
What will be the opportunities for foreigners to receive health care in Latvia after October 25? 
• there is a chance in the Cross-border Directive for our medical facilities to provide services for patients from other EU member states, to develop medical tourism and to raise quality of services;
• in medical facilities, where state-funded health care is provided, the prime task will be to provide services stated in the National Health Service in order to not prolong the waiting list for Latvian citizens.
 
How the new order will differ from the current order by receiving urgent and planned help in the EU (EHIC cards etc.)?
• the previous order with the European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) handing stays the same, because it provides opportunities to receive unplanned emergency medical treatment while being in a short-term travel in any of the EU member states.
 
Before going to receive medical treatment abroad, take into account:
 
1) in other countrues, the full cost of services must be made first;
2) only those services which are in the Latvian state-funded health care range of services will be covered;
3) language barrier;
4) a chance to get the necessary state-funded service faster in the other Latvian medical facility;
5) expenses that are not covered include travelling and subsistence costs etc.;
6) considering the differences between the costs of services and other expenses, they may be charged at a lower cost in Latvia as a charged service.