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Health Services when on holiday or travelling outside the Isle of Man 11 April 2007

As the holiday season approaches again, the Department of Health & Social Security urge residents of the Isle of Man to carefully consider the potential cost of their healthcare when on holiday or travelling outside the Isle of Man, before leaving the Island.

Whilst treatment in an emergency or life threatening situation will not normally be refused for the lack of funds to pay for it, Manx residents should be aware that they may be asked to pay for the cost of health services provided to them whilst outside the Island.

Whilst the DHSS is party to a number of reciprocal health agreements (the relevant countries are listed below), these agreements only guarantee that healthcare will be provided, at worst, for emergency treatment only or, at best, on the same basis as residents of the country which they are visiting. Thus, if the local residents of the country pay for their healthcare, so too will Manx visitors to that country.

The cost of healthcare in these countries will vary. In the United Kingdom, it will largely be free apart from statutory charges but, in most countries, the cost of the services provided could be significant.

In most reciprocal agreement countries, the cost of healthcare is paid directly by the patient and then reclaimed from an insurance organisation. A Manx resident, unless they have taken out health insurance prior to travelling, is unlikely to be able to easily reclaim the cost of their treatment from the relevant organisation.

In order for a Manx resident to receive healthcare in these countries, including the United Kingdom, they need to be able to prove that they live in the Isle of Man. Evidence can be provided by a passport and proof of Isle of Man residence (e.g. Driving Licence, NHS Card etc). Healthcare provided in reciprocal agreement countries may not be the same as that provided in the Isle of Man and residents may be expected to pay some additional costs, for example, ambulance transport to a hospital or the accommodation costs of staying in hospital.

Where a Manx resident is visiting a country where there is no bilateral agreement in place, healthcare will usually only be provided on the basis that it is paid for in full by the patient – sometimes in advance of treatment being provided.

When considering the potential costs of healthcare outside the Island, residents should also take into account the potential costs of travel back to the Island (not just to the UK) which may require a nurse escort on a scheduled flight or a specially chartered air ambulance. In this situation, the patient will be responsible for the full costs of this service – neither the Isle of Man Government nor the Government of the country being visited will be responsible for these repatriation costs. In considering travel off-Island either for business or pleasure, the Department would strongly advise Manx residents to purchase comprehensive health insurance and to shop around to see which provides the best cover and best value for money.

Reciprocal Agreement Countries:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Channel Islands
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Eire
  • Falkland Islands
  • Finland
  • Gibraltar
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Macedonia
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Further information

Manx residents are not entitled to apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is only available to residents of countries which form part of the European Union. Manx residents who hold such a card will find that it is invalid once they cease to be resident of an EU country i.e. on moving to the Isle of Man.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning (01624) 642608.

The Department cannot advise on the purchase of private health or travel insurance.

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