17/10/2019

EU Healthcare Secured For NI Residents

Legislation to provide European health cover to Northern Irish residents in the event of a no-deal Brexit has passed through Ireland's Houses of the Oireachtas.

The Health and Childcare Support (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019 will extend health benefits similar to those of the European Health Insurance Card to eligible local residents- giving them cover while travelling within the EU.

Passing of the bill comes just two weeks before the Brexit deadline of October 31.

Ireland's Minister for Health Simon Harris welcomed the legislation, saying: "The Government has identified as a clear priority, in the context of contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit, the provision of healthcare benefits to eligible residents of Northern Ireland.
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"Our priority has always been to ensure the people of Northern Ireland can continue to have access to necessary healthcare when travelling in Europe, the costs of which can now be claimed back through a reimbursement mechanism under Irish law, which is of significant benefit to eligible residents in Northern Ireland."

Part 2 of the Bill will enable eligible residents of Northern Ireland to be reimbursed by Ireland for the cost of necessary medical care incurred while abroad in an EU or EEA member state, or Switzerland.

Part 3 provides for an amendment to the Childcare Support Act 2018 to make explicit provision for British citizens to access the National Childcare Scheme on the same basis as Irish citizens.

In line with Ireland's commitment to the Good Friday Agreement and membership of the EU, the scheme will be available to Irish, EU and British citizens living in Northern Ireland.

It also includes amendments to the Childcare Support Act 2018, allowing British Citizens access to the forthcoming National Childcare Scheme on a par with Irish citizens, in line with the provisions of the Common Travel Area in other areas.



(JG/MH)

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