Govt eyes system to track healthcare expenses incurred by EU, third country citizens; intent being to bill home countries

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 15:43

Ασθενοφόρο σε νοσοκομείο της Αθήνας. (EUROKINISSI/ΓΙΩΡΓΟΣ ΚΟΝΤΑΡΙΝΗΣ)

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Greece's new health minister on Tuesday announced, via a circular disseminated to all public hospitals and healthcare facilities, that an electronic system will be implemented to record all healthcare-related expenses incurred to treat EU citizens visiting Greece and third country nationals.

The intent, according to minister Vassilis Kikilias, a physician by training and a one-time pro basketball player, is to track such spending and seek reimbursement from healthcare insurance funds in EU citizens' home countries, when costs are not covered by Community bylaws and agreement. In terms of third country nationals not covered under bilateral or international conventions, the intent is to bill them directly.

In a terse statement, Kikilias, who was appointed to the post after center-right ND party came in first during the July 7 election and formed a majority government shortly thereafter, said that "not a euro of Greek taxpayers' money will be squandered. Greek taxpayers will no longer pay for services provided by ESY (the national healthcare entity) to foreign (insurance fund) beneficiaries".

The circular details what administrative staff at Greek public hospitals and clinics must do in order to subsequent bill relevant European entities whose beneficiaries use a European health insurance card; cases where EU citizens do not have the card with them, as well as cases involving dependents of Greek citizens or foreign nationals of Greek descent, as well as non-EU citizens with legal residency in Greece. In the latter instance, the charges should be submitted to Greece's main insurance and health fund, EOPYY.

A fourth category are cases involving the provision of healthcare services to non-EU citizens where the subsequent transfer of the costs to their home countries is unavailable, whereby the charges are billed to the individual treated.

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