The States of Guernsey Health and Social Services Department has confirmed that the current Reciprocal Health Agreement between the Channel Islands and the UK is to cease with effect from 31 March 2009. The practical effect of the cessation of the agreement is that most Channel Island residents will no longer be able to access the NHS free of charge when in the UK, other than for treatment given in accident and emergency departments and various contagious diseases. These changes will not affect people who are referred for treatment in the UK which is not available in Guernsey; such referred treatment will continue to be paid for by the HSSD.
The Commission is therefore recommending that all Bailiwick residents should review their travel insurance arrangements before embarking on off-island travel for business or pleasure. The following aspects of policies should be considered in particular:
- The countries that will be visited
- The types of activities that will be undertaken
- Restrictions on cover due to age or medical history
- Cover for cancelled connecting flights
- The extent and duration of cover whilst in the UK, either in the form of a stop over or on a longer-term basis
- Cover for repatriation to the Bailiwick
Insurance intermediaries licensed by the Commission should be able to provide advice on the policies available and whether the cover provided by both new and existing policies is appropriate. Applicants and existing policyholders should take additional care to ensure that the cover meets their requirements where policies are obtained via the internet, or directly from other sources not subject to supervision by the Commission.