Written answers

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Department of Health

Health Services Allowances

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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605. To ask the Minister for Health the amount of money received from the UK Government in each of the past five years and the number of persons covered by these payments in respect of persons living here who are on pensions or other payments from the UK Government as a payment for those persons health services and their cover by medical card for such persons here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25651/14]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Minister, Department of Health; Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Ireland operates a bilateral healthcare reimbursement agreement with the United Kingdom, in respect of health services provided under EU Regulations, covering such persons as temporary visitors between the two countries, pensioners of one country and their dependants residing in the other country, and the dependant families of persons employed in the other country. Under the terms of the agreement net liability between the two countries is calculated on a lump sum basis rather than an individual basis. The agreement does not provide for reimbursement to, or in respect of, a particular individual. The payment made in any one year is based on an estimate of the number of persons falling within categories eligible for reimbursement and for whom each country is liable and an estimate of the average cost of providing healthcare treatment. The amount payable is agreed following compilation of the necessary data and discussions between the two administrations. Payments are made in advance and are subject to final settlement once all necessary statistical and financial information is complete. Total payments in any one year can relate to both final settlements in respect of previous years' liabilities and advance payments in respect of the current year. The net amounts received by Ireland from the United Kingdom in respect of reimbursement of healthcare costs provided under Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 for the years in question are:

2009 - €286m; 2010 - €320m; 2011 - €270m; 2012 - €220m; 2013 - €220m

By far the largest part of the payments made on an annual basis relates to the provision of healthcare to pensioners of one country residing in the other country. The estimated number of pensioners for whom each country is liable has been based on a sample survey undertaken by both administrations every three years. The most recent sample survey was completed in 2008 and the United Kingdom accepted liability for 40% of its pensioner caseload residing in Ireland, equating to 43,600 persons. Both administrations have since agreed in principle to work towards a form of pensioner registration which will form the basis for calculating pensioner reimbursement costs in the future and agreed interim arrangements for determining pensioner liability, based on previous survey results trends.

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