As you may already know, Sark is not part of the National Health Service and has no reciprocal agreements with the NHS or with the health services of the other Channel Islands. This means that residents and visitors alike have to pay for their medical care themselves. The cost of most medications is subsidized by the for residents only. Insurance for medical problems is therefore very important as the cost of care, particulary if you need to be admitted to hospital, is very high. It is worth bearing in mind that if you develop a medical condition before you have insurance in place, the insurance company may exclude that condition from your policy and will not pay for care you require if it is associated with that condition. If possible therefore it is best to arrange insurance before you need it. Please also be aware that if you change insurers, they may not cover conditions that you have developed while you were insured with another company. Remember to check this before changing policies.
Visitors and Seasonal Workers
As a visitor to Sark you are strongly encouraged to take out travel insurance to cover medical treatment should this be required. Please be aware that any European Union, NHS or other Channel Island benefit scheme does not apply. You will be required to pay the full price for medications dispensed and will be provided with a receipt for both the medical services and medication which you can use to claim from your insurer.
For seasonal workers, insurance is also very important. This may be provided by your employer but please check the exclusions, limitations and fine print BEFORE you start work. As with visitors, you will be asked to pay for your treatment directly and will be provided with a receipt which you can use to claim the cost back from the insurer. We do not charge these insurers directly.
What is covered?
Insurance conpanies offer different policies for Sark residents. Some cover all general practitioner consultations as well as secondary care (specialist outpatient appointments, inpatient episodes) and investigations such as blood tests and scans. Others cover only secondary care which means that you will need to pay for general practice consultations yourself. Some insurers offer a discount on their premiums if you agree to an excess which means that during a defined interval (usually one year) you have to pay the first agreed sum before they cover the costs. For example you may elect to have an excess of £1000 on your policy which means that the insurance company will pay only when you have paid the first £1000 yourself.
Which companies can I choose?
The choice of insurance is yours. We cannot advise you which to choose but we can help you find the information needed to make your decision. Please follow the links below for further information. Sark Medical Committee (a committee of Chief Pleas) negotiates an island scheme via an which is currently provided by Aetna. Please note that the links below are not in any order of preference, are not exhaustive and do not constitute a recommendation by Dr Counsell, the Sark Medical Centre or SarkSurgery.com.
How do I claim?
We charge some insurance companies directly and submit our claim at the start of each month. For other insurers including travel insurance for visitors we ask that you pay us first and then send the reciept that we provide to your insurer. If you have received bills from the hospital or other providers, you may need to complete a claim form to send to the insurer with the bill. Parts of this form may need to be completed by the doctor. You can obtain the forms from the insurance company by contacting them directly or in the case of ALC you can download the form from their internet site above. We also have a small stock of claim forms at the surgery. Please bear with us whilst the forms are completed by the doctor as the level of clinical need varies from day to day.