Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Questions (833)

Thomas Pringle


833. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Health the reason an Irish citizen resident in Northern Ireland cannot apply for a European health insurance card; the provisions that can be put in place for them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11440/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK provides for a continuation of healthcare rights when on a temporary stay in a State covered by the Agreement. Under the agreement a person’s competent State will issue them with ‘an entitlement document’, in the case of the UK a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), to allow them to access these healthcare rights. The State which issues the relevant GHIC\EHIC is the State in which a person makes their social security contribution or receives a social security contributory payment.

Furthermore, under the Agreement, residents of the UK, including Northern Ireland, can continue to use their current UK EHIC to access necessary care while on a temporary stay in an EU Member State, until the card reaches its expiry date. At that point, residents of Northern Ireland may obtain a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), issued by the UK Government. Further information can be found on the NHS website, on how residents of Northern Ireland can apply for a new GHIC.

Also, in certain circumstances, persons who are frontier workers will be entitled to an EHIC under the terms of the EU UK Withdrawal Agreement.

The Government continues to recognise the importance placed on continued access to EHIC rights for the people of Northern Ireland. We are pleased therefore, that healthcare rights are maintained under the Agreement for persons resident in the UK, including Northern Ireland, when on a temporary stay in an EU Member State.