Although the Isle of Man has a long standing reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK, which means that Isle of Man residents are entitled to emergency treatment free of charge, this does not – and never has – included repatriation back to the Isle of Man. This means that anyone who misses their flight or ferry back to the Island for a medical reason, is unfit to travel except by air ambulance, or someone who needs to be transferred to Noble’s Hospital for ongoing care, would either need insurance to fund this, or be willing to pay the costs themselves. Medical repatriation where an air ambulance is required can be extremely expensive, costing as much as £20,000.
David Killip, Chief Executive said:
'Every year we have requests for help from Isle of Man residents who have travelled overseas without insurance and are facing sometimes huge personal bills for treatment and repatriation, because they failed to take out insurance. Quite apart from the costs, this can also cause great distress and worry to friends and family who are left to try and sort out the problems.'
Member for Health Services, Dudley Butt MLC said:
'Obviously the majority of people go away and have fantastic holidays. But it’s vital that those travelling this summer, even if only to the UK, ensure that they’re adequately covered. For a modest fee, travellers can save themselves considerable costs and distress should things go wrong. Anyone travelling outside of the UK – including to Ireland and other areas of the EU – should make certain that they have insurance to cover healthcare and repatriation. The Isle of Man only has a reciprocal agreement with the UK. The Isle of Man is not part of the EU and as such the European Health Insurance Card, which affords EU residents some healthcare in EU countries, doesn’t apply and isn’t available to Isle of Man residents. So the message we want to get across is clear and simple – make sure you’re covered.'
The Department of Health has a leaflet available on its website (a hard copy is available upon request). The site also contains a leaflet for those from the UK and further afield planning to visit the Isle of Man, advising on the cover required.