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Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL6405, tabled on 28 March 2017

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many claims for payment from the NHS received by hospitals in other EU member states are rejected each year, and what is the value of such claims.

Answered on

6 April 2017

The unit cost of an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is approximately 72 pence. This amount is inclusive of labour and all infrastructure costs.

Information on how many applications for EHICs are rejected due to fraudulent, incomplete or false details being submitted is not held centrally.

The Department, on behalf of the United Kingdom Government, rather than the National Health Service reimburses other European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland for the cost of providing treatment to people we are responsible for under European Union law, based on pension and benefit eligibility, and irrespective of nationality. In the same way, other EEA countries and Switzerland reimburse the Department, on behalf of the UK Government, for the cost of the NHS providing treatment to people they are responsible for under EU law, irrespective of nationality and including UK nationals insured in another EEA country or Switzerland.

Information on how many claims from hospitals in other EEA member states the Department has paid, and their value, where it knew the patient was ineligible for an EHIC is not held centrally.

Due to the complexities associated with the collection and aggregation of information on costs and treatment, claims for EEA medical costs are typically submitted by EEA member states (including the UK) up to three, and sometimes more, years in arrears. There is then a further, and often significant, time lag between the receipt of the claim and its payment due to the lengthy process of scrutinising and then accepting or rejecting a claim by another member state. Therefore, any figures for rejected claims may not represent a final, accurate picture for any 12-month period.