Social Security / Healthcare : Travel and Accommodation Costs Not Refundable, Says Ecj
In yet another addition to EU case-law on reimbursement of care costs for individuals covered by social security schemes incurred in another member state, the Court of Justice handed down a ruling on 15 June in a casea (Case C-466/04, Herrera) concerning refunding of associated costs (travel, accommodation, etc.) to a Spanish self-employed worker who received treatment for a serious illness at a hospital in France.
Mr Acereda Herrera had abeen issued with anaE112 from by his social security institution to enable him to get the medical care in France, but both he and a member of his family accompanying him were subsequently refused reimbursement of the travel, accommodation and subsistence costs occasioned by visits to the French hospital.
Until 1995, these costs could be recovered in Spain, even in the event of movements within the EU, but a 1995 Royal Decree introduced tougher provisions for reimbursement outside the Spanish national health service, specifying three conditions: cases where "immediate, urgent, life-saving treatment" was provided outside the national health service and in so far as it could be proven that "it was not possible to use the services of that system in sufficient time' and this exception had not been used 'inappropriately or abusively".
The EU Judges concluded that this legislation does not breach Regulation 1408/71 on the coordination of social security schemes. An insured person has no right to be "reimbursed for the costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence which that person and any person accompanying him incurred in the territory of another member state, with the exception of the costs of accommodation and meals in hospital for the insured person himself". …