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Cross-border purchases of health services : a case study on Austria and Hungary


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  • Obermaier, Andreas J.

    (European Integration Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

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    This paper explores the structure of cross-border health purchasing between Austria and Hungary and determines the size of this phenomenon as well as the barriers to a further increase. Austrian patients may receive health care treatment in Hungary in three different ways. First, patients may receive benefits in the context of the European Community Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72 (Category I patients). Second, outside those regulatory structures, Austrian patients travel to Hungary to receive medical treatment, especially dental treatment, and then seek reimbursement from their Austrian insurance (Category II patients). Third, some patients receive medical treatment in Hungary outside both schemes (Category III patients). There are about 42,500 Category I patients per year; and 58,000 Category II patients world-wide per year. An unknown but supposedly greater number of patients travel to Hungary to receive mainly dental treatment and cosmetic surgery (Category III). Most health actors in both Austria and Hungary do not regard cross-border purchasing of health services as having cost-saving effects. They put forward major legal, institutional, political, and psychological barriers, which inhibit public and private Austrian providers, to facilitate trade in health care and which inhibit individual patients to realize cost savings through capitalizing on lower health care prices in Hungary. Therefore, for the time being, trade in health care and patient mobility between Austria and Hungary is a circumscribed phenomenon in terms of quantities, and it will most probably remain so in the near future.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4825.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Jan 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4825

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    Keywords: access to health care; adequate resources; aid; beds; cataract surgery; clinics; Community hospitals; Consumer Protection; cost effectiveness; costs of treatment; dental care; dental treatment; dentists; Diagnosis; discrimination; disease; doctor; doctors; domestic law; employment; entitlement; expenditures; families; financial resources; fundamental principles; general practitioner; Health Affairs; health care; health care centers; health care costs; health care coverage; health care facilities; health care institutions; health care insurance; health care law; health care provider; health care providers; health care sector; health care services; health care standards; health care system; health care systems; Health Care Systems in Transition; health expenditure; health facilities; health insurance; health insurance companies; health insurance funds; health insurance system; health insurers; Health Organization; health organizations; health policy; health providers; health sector; health service; Health Services; health system; health systems; Health Systems in Transition; Healthcare; hospital care; hospital financing; Hospital Operator; hospital sector; hospital treatment; hospitals; hygiene; income; insurance; insurance coverage; insurance systems; Integration; judicial proceedings; legal provisions; marketing; Medical Association; medical associations; medical benefits; medical care; medical facilities; medical science; medical services; medical treatment; medicine; Migration; National Health; National Health Insurance; National Health Insurance Fund; national health policy; nurses; patient; patient care; patient treatment; patients; physician; physicians; Policy ReseaRch; Primary Care; private health insurance; private health insurers; private hospitals; private households; private insurance; private insurer; private insurers; private sector; provision of health care; provision of services; public health; public health care; public health insurance; public hospitals; public sector; quality control; quality of health; quality of health care; rehabilitation; reimbursement rates; right to health care; social health insurance; social insurance; Social Policy; social security; social security schemes; social security systems; surgery; therapy; treatments; Use of Health Care Services; visits; workers;

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    1. Rupa Chanda, 2008. "Trade in Health Services," Working Papers id:1758, eSocialSciences.
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    Cited by:
    1. Mazzanti, Giovanni Maria & Fiorentini, Gianluca, 2012. "Proposte per una revisione del finanziamento e dell’offerta dei servizi odontoiatrici in Italia. L’intervento pubblico e i fondi integrativi," AICCON Working Papers 100-2012, Associazione Italiana per la Cultura della Cooperazione e del Non Profit.
    2. Hiroshi Aiura & Yasuo Sanjo, 2010. "Privatization of local public hospitals: effect on budget, medical service quality, and social welfare," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 275-299, September.


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