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European sickness funds to reimburse treatment abroad:

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

European statutory health insurance funds are obliged to fund treatments abroad, if they are not able to offer a timely and qualitatively similar treatment in the patient's home country. The decision of the European Court last week in Luxembourg is, however, restricted to "treatments that have been internationally investigated and recognised". The ruling comes after two cases brought by the Dutch nationals, Smits and Peerbooms. The Smits case involved a patient who opted for treatment in a German Parkinson's clinic, but was then unable to have this reimbursed by a Netherlands sickness fund. The fund claimed that the patient could have been treated in the Netherlands, albeit using another therapy. In the Peerboom case, the sickness fund refused to reimburse a new treatment procedure carried out in Austria.

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