This Bill will give the Government powers to set up and fund healthcare deals with other countries after it leaves the EU.
The Bill seeks to safeguard healthcare for 190,000 expats and 50 million people who travel abroad every year, through agreements with the EU or member states.
It will also establish the legal basis to fund and implement reciprocal healthcare schemes and share necessary data after we leave the EU.
At the moment the UK has Reciprocal Healthcare agreements with other countries based on its EU membership.
Reciprocal Healthcare agreements support people from the UK to obtain healthcare when they live in, work in or visit other countries and vice versa, for people from other EU countries in the UK. The advantages of these arrangements are:
- reducing the cost of insurance,
- making travel more viable for older people and high-risk groups,
providing a boost to the travel economy.
For the 190,000 expat state pensioners who have chosen to live in the EU and those intending to retire to the EU, it will help by safeguarding reciprocal healthcare if there is no EU deal.
This Bill was introduced by Mat Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.
This Bill has come as a surprise to some people. Previously there had been discussions that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would be retained after Brexit as it had so many advantages. This Bill, however, does not mention retention of the EHIC.
The pro-Remain Conservative, Guto Bubb MP said:
The European Health Insurance Card means Brits can travel to the EU without worrying about ending up out-of-pocket if they get ill or injured. With ministers apparently giving up on preserving it shows just how miserable this botched Brexit will be.
How to get involved
You can contact your MP
If I don’t act, will it go through?
This is a Government Bill, so is likely to go through.