The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released its new report “Cost of exclusion from healthcare – The case of migrants in an irregular situation” on 3 September 2015.
The report estimates the economic cost of providing timely access to screening and treatment for migrants in an irregular situation, compared with providing 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 the following three European Union member states: Germany, Greece and Sweden.
Among others, the report finds that providing regular health care to undocumented patients with hypertension could generate savings of approximately 9% over the period of one year, rising to 13% after five years and 16% over a lifetime and to help prevent more than 300 strokes and more than 200 heart attacks per 1,000 migrants in each country. Improved prenatal care could generate savings of up to 48% in Germany and Greece and as much as 69% in Sweden over the space of two years.
The report concludes by highlighting that health care policies must respect international and European law. The economic model presented in the report suggests that providing access to regular preventive health care for migrants in an irregular situation would contribute to their right to health care but would also be economically sound.