UK Stops Healthcare Payments For Retired British expatriates in France
Retired British expatriates in France have received some bad news at the hands of the UK Government. Who have announced that they will be stopping any payments towards the healthcare costs of these expats. Therefore, these individuals who have taken early retirement, will need to take out private health insurance as soon as they set foot in France.
It has been revealed by the UK Department of Health that there is a strong chance the changes will come into play from April this year. For those who may need a little reminder, we are now in 2014. Which means the changes are set to come into effect in four months.
During last summer, there was a consultation which delved into the possible ways the National Health Service could save money. As such, this change will impact on retired British expatriates in France, and it could well have been motivated by last summer’s consultation.
’Health tourism’ is a problem
Gone are the days when normal expats, and retired British expatriates in France could travel to the UK and get their healthcare needs dealt with by the NHS. If these same individuals were to travel to the UK looking for healthcare, they will be billed for their treatments.
The UK Government are trying to put an end to ‘health tourism’, and the new measure should deter expats from travelling under this reason. The Department of Health have backed their decision. Saying that payments made towards the health cover of early retirees’ in France, is not a legal obligation under European Union law.
The way in which the current system works allows retired British expatriates in France to use the S1 form, and take advantage of the French health system. In this circumstance Britain is forced to pay the French so that costs can be covered. This is usually for up to two-and-a-half-years. But this is entirely dependent on the payments made by the individual towards their National Insurance.
There is around £305 million spent annually in the United Kingdom on healthcare for individuals coming from within Europe. These are non-permanent residents and those British expatriates in the European Economic Area.