Cost of exclusion from healthcare: The case of migrants in an irregular situation (FRA)
This report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights aims to estimate the economic cost of providing timely access to healthcare for migrants in an irregular situation, compared with providing treatment only in emergency cases.
The right to health is a basic social right. However, its understanding and application differs across the European Union (EU) Member States, which results in different healthcare services being offered to migrants in an irregular situation. This report looks into the potential costs of providing migrants in an irregular situation with timely access to health screening and treatment, compared to providing medical treatment only in emergency cases.
It presents an economic model to calculate such costs for two medical conditions: hypertension and prenatal care. To better illustrate its application in practice, the model is applied to three European Union (EU) Member States – Germany, Greece and Sweden.
Although results must be interpreted with caution, the testing shows that providing access to regular preventive healthcare for migrants in an irregular situation would be cost-saving for healthcare systems. Even when using a simple model to estimate costs, the implications are clear: treating a condition only when it becomes an emergency not only endangers the health of a patient, but also results in a greater economic burden to healthcare systems.