The introduction of the new Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill is designed to provide the government the legal powers to fund and implement overseas healthcare deals post Brexit.
The intention of the bill is to safeguard the healthcare of 190,000 expats and 50 million people that travel abroad every year on holiday by establishing a basis for the funding of arrangements with the EU or member states to provide reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
Jackie Doyle-Price, MP for Thurrock and Health Minister is introducing the bill and Lord James O’Shaughnessy said:
Whether on holiday, working or retiring abroad, British people want to know they can access the same high quality healthcare that they enjoy in the NHS.
This Bill will allow us to implement new healthcare arrangements with other countries – in the EU and elsewhere – so that UK citizens can travel with confidence.
It is hoped that he new legislation will pave the way for extending the current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) arrangements when they expire in 2020 under which UK nationals are entitle to free healthcare abroad and current funds up to 250,000 treatments a year.
It will additionally provide safeguars to the 190,000 expat state pensioners who live outside the UK is there is no reciprocal health care deal in place following Britain’s exit from the EU.