The Estonian government approved at its session on Thursday a bill that implements the principles of the directive of free movement of patients in Estonia, LETA/Postimees Online reports.
The directive creates a possibility for all European Union member state patients to get scheduled healthcare services in any of the union's states. The implementation of the directive can result in a certain increase in the number of foreign patients in Estonia. If need be, Estonia can set access restrictions for foreign patients to protect interests of local people covered with health insurance.
"I believe that actually we will have a considerable chance for export of healthcare services and the money that accompanies foreign patients will be a strong supplement to the means of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund," said social minister Taavi Rõivas.
Estonian patients can later apply for compensations of treatment costs incurred abroad from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund, which compensates the costs according to its own price list. If treatments in other states are more expensive, patients have to pay the gap.
Currently the Heath Insurance Fund compensates treatment of patients abroad in case the fund has granted permission for it or the need for imminent treatment has emerged while abroad.
All member states have to adopt the directive by October 25 latest.