Monday 10 February 2020
In October 2015, the States directed the Committee for Employment & Social Security to investigate the options for replacing the old Reciprocal Health Agreement, which ended in 2009, with a new scheme of health insurance that would cover Guernsey and Alderney residents who require hospital treatment while visiting the UK.
Following an extensive process investigating the options, the Committee has produced proposals for a scheme that will ensure that local residents, who are unable to obtain medical insurance at all, or at a reasonable cost, will not incur the substantial costs of medical bills, should they fall ill while travelling in the UK.
Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, President of the Committee for Employment & Social Security said:
"This scheme will provide a safety net for those people who are unable to get medical insurance at a reasonable cost, but want to visit relatives in the UK. The Committee hopes that people will be supportive of the scheme."
People who wish to make use of the scheme, if approved by the States, will need to provide evidence that they are unable to obtain insurance, and that they do not have significant savings that would cover the cost of a medical bill, should they require treatment while travelling in the UK. Anyone who is approved to be covered by the scheme would be issued with a card that they could present to a UK hospital, in the event that they need secondary care while in the UK. People would be required to pay the first £250 of their medical bills, and the States would pay the rest, up to a maximum cost of £250,000 per person per incident.
This scheme will only cover UK NHS secondary care, so it is still important for people to take out private medical or travel insurance if they are able to do so to cover the potential for other costs that might arise out of travel delays.
While the exploration of a new Reciprocal Health Agreement with the UK is being actively progressed by the Policy & Resources Committee and the Committee forHealth & Social Care, we are unable to indicate at this stage when such an agreement may be available to islanders, as the UK will need to prioritise the implications of Brexit before any arrangement with Guernsey. Whereas this scheme will be operational during 2020, as soon as possible after debate, if approved by the States, and it directly responds to the direction of the States in 2015.
Responsibility for the scheme will transfer to the Committee for Health & Social Care later in 2020, along with the mandate for the funding of health services, as directed by the States during 2019. The Committee has engaged with the Committee for Health & Social Care in developing its proposals.