Sunday, August 16, 2015

Are There UK NHS Loopholes In European Health Insurance Cards?

Right-leaning conservative British MPs may be appalled to hear about this but are there “loopholes” that allow non-UK citizens to avail of the UK’s NHS insurance benefits in their own country? 

By: Ringo Bones 

At present, the UK’s NHS is handing out five million European Health Insurance Cards annually that allows Britons to charge emergency treatment abroad back to their own NHS accounts. But to the dismay of every right-leaning conservative UK MP’s with a beef against “welfare queens”, cards are being given to any EU citizens who say they are living in the UK. Even Eastern Europeans are using them in their home country to make NHS cover costs which finally prompted Downing Street to order an investigation back in Friday, August 14, 2015 into “completely unacceptable” revelations that foreigners are billing the NHS for expensive healthcare they receive in their own country. 

Under an extraordinary legal NHS insurance benefits loophole of European Health Insurance Cards – or EHIC cards - carried by UK citizens, migrants are able to charge the full cost of medical treatment in their home countries to the UK’s NHS, even if they have never paid a penny of tax in Britain. They do this by obtaining European Health Insurance Cards from the UK’s NHS which are intended for legal British citizens to use in cases of emergency while on holiday in EU member countries. 

The cards entitle them to charge the NHS for the cost of any medical treatment they might urgently need while overseas within Europe, But the NHS is handing out more than five million of these EHIC cards for free every year – and keeping no record on how many are given to non-UK residents – i.e. foreigners. The cards are given out freely to any EU citizens who said they are living in the UK even if they haven’t actually worked or paid any tax there. 

As the result of this UK’s NHS legal insurance loophole, Eastern Europeans can obtain the cards, then return to their home countries and use them to have medical treatment they would usually have to pay for – except for this time it is now paid by the NHS thanks to their European Health Insurance Cards. UK’s Health Minister Alistair Burt said it was “completely unacceptable” that people who have never paid tax in Britain can charge the NHS for treatment they receive in their own country. He said the government would “urgently carry out more work” to investigate. Mr. Burt said: “This Government has already introduced tough measures to clamp down on migrants using healthcare without making a contribution, to save half a billion pounds within a few years.”    

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