International Debt Collection: NHS Incentive To Chase Health Tourists

We’ve all read negative headlines about how so-called health tourism accounts for 2% of the National Health Service budget. But what if Trusts could get up to 150% of what they spend on overseas visitors back?… Well, that’s exactly what can now happen thanks to changes in the law. Just take a look at this:

The Law

New legislation says the NHS can now recover 150% of what it spends on patients from outside the EU. Not only that, it can also recover 125% from EU visitors through the European Health Insurance Card scheme and other agreements. And once a Trust has paid 75% of the original treatment cost back to the UK government and deducted 25% for administration costs, it can reinvest the remaining cash in patient care. 

The Question

So does all this mean that ‘health tourism’ could actually boost the NHS? The answer, in theory, is yes… But the NHS can’t do it on its own… At least not according to the latest figures, which show the NHS recovered less than 20% of what it was owed from EU patients alone in 2013/14. 

The Answer

Debt recovery solicitors, such as Lovetts, are experienced in UK and International Debt Collection. They know the rules inside-out, and also have a trusted network of agents all around the world to act on their behalf. 

How Does It Work?

In the case of ‘health tourism’ by EU citizens, Lovetts will first contact the overseas patient, who may be able to claim the money from an insurer or their government. Failing this, Lovetts will attempt to recover money from the overseas patient’s government directly. In the rest of the world it is only the overseas visitor and any insurer who may be pursued for the fees. But Trusts shouldn’t shrink from taking action for the higher 150% because there is still a solid claim for reimbursement. The most important thing in all cases is that hospitals gather accurate identification data from the overseas visitor at the point of treatment. This will give us everything we need to start the International Debt Collection process. Lovetts currently work with NHS hospitals therefore, if you work in the National Health Service and would like to know more about how we are helping them recover money owed by overseas visitors, do not hesitate to contact us or share your experiences with us.

3 May 2016