Franco-Belgian Cooperation: Organized zones for cross-border access to healthcare (ZOAST)

Between 2008 and 2015 seven ZOASTs – true regulatory arrangements for cross-border healthcare districts – were set up. Today they cover the whole Franco-Belgian border area and have become references for healthcare cooperation in the EU.

The fruit of a long process of constructing social and health care cooperation, ZOASTs currently constitute an appropriate response to the care needs of patients in urban or rural border areas in the EU.

In 2015, some 20.000 French and Belgian patients have thus received treatment without discrimination on either side of the Franco-Belgian border under these cross-border arrangements, without any administrative or financial barriers.

The legal basis for the ZOAST agreements has been the Franco-Belgian framework agreement on healthcare cooperation. In part I, they regulate the financial coverage for healthcare for patients under their obligatory health insurance; in part II they incorporate the French supplementary cover given by the mechanisms to correct social imbalances defined in legal texts and by health insurers.

Reference: European Cross-Border Cooperation on Health: Theory and Practice, European Commission
Study conducted by Eric Delecosse, Fabienne Leloup and Henri Lewalle