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HSC questions affordability of UK travel insurance plan

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DOUBTS have been cast as to whether health insurance for islanders travelling to the UK who cannot afford their own policies can be met within existing budgets.

Employment & Social Security president Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, whose committee is taking to the States a plan for travel insurance for islanders who cannot obtain cover, has had its long-term affordability questioned by Health & Social Care. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 4294177)

The pilot scheme, proposed by Employment & Social Security, which is headed by Deputy Michelle Le Clerc, was expected to start this year and run for a minimum of two years.

During this period it is likely that responsibility for the Guernsey Health Service Fund will transfer to Health & Social Care, which has expressed doubts about the sustainability of the scheme.

An HSC spokesman said they would support the scheme during its initial stages, but remained sceptical.

‘While HSC does not doubt the accuracy of the figures provided in ESS’s policy letter, we do not entirely agree with the conclusion drawn that it will be possible to administer the scheme within existing resources,’ he said.

‘HSC runs a tight ship and resources are stretched.

‘We will work closely with our ESS colleagues who will be supporting the scheme in its initial stages to review the practical implications, but remain uncertain about the impact on resources longer-term after the scheme is transferred.’

HSC said it hoped the scheme would be made redundant by Guernsey re-establishing a reciprocal health agreement with the UK.

‘As we mentioned in our letter of comment to ESS and referenced in the policy letter, we believe the optimal solution for the island as a whole would be to establish a reciprocal health agreement with the UK which has in recent months indicated a renewed willingness to explore and discussions are ongoing with the Department of Health and Social Care in relation to this.

‘It will be for the States to decide whether the costs associated with the scheme proposed by ESS are worth paying now, before we know whether we are able to establish an agreement that is financially and practically viable.’

HSC’s positive tone on the agreement being re-established was at odds with the ESS policy letter, which warned that a reciprocal health agreement would not be a priority for the UK due to post-Brexit complications.

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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