New UK bill to maintain EHIC benefits

 

According to an article in the Independent, the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill was recently unveiled by the Department of Health in the UK. It is anticipated that the emergency legislation will be pushed through before next March, in case the Brexit talks fail.

It will "establish the legal basis to fund and implement vital reciprocal healthcare schemes and share necessary data after we leave the EU", the department said.

Officials stressed that the bill would still allow the EHIC scheme to survive after Brexit "subject to an agreement with the EU". They said it was being brought forward because plans for it to rollover until the end of 2020, as part of the planned transition period, were now at risk.

An EHIC gives Britons the right to state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country. It covers treatment that is 'medically necessary' on the same basis as enjoyed by a resident of that country, so either free or at a much-reduced cost. Pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care are also covered, provided someone has not travelled specifically to give birth or seek treatment.

Visit the EU Directive section of IMTJ for more analysis of medical tourism and Brexit.

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