Pension and healthcare protection in new Brexit deal

Reciprocal healthcare cover and uprated state pensions will continue from January 1

26 December 2020
By Liv Rowland

The new Brexit trade deal, agreed between the UK and the EU on December 24, includes protections for UK pensioners’ and visitors’ healthcare and for pensions.

A summary document for the deal, announced by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, states: 

“The provisions…on Social Security Coordination will ensure that individuals who move between the UK and the EU in the future will have their social security position in respect of certain important benefits protected.

“Individuals will be able to have access to a range of social security benefits, including reciprocal healthcare cover and an uprated state pension.”

The deal also states that ‘pension aggregation’ will continue – the ability for the UK and EU states to take into account periods spent paying into the other’s pension system when working out pension entitlement.

The country that pays a person’s state pension will also continue to pay for their healthcare if they retire abroad in the UK or EU, the deal summary says.

Protections ‘akin to’ the Ehic system will also continue for travellers between the UK and EU, including second home owners.

“This means individuals who are temporarily staying in another country, for example a UK national who is in an EU member state for a holiday, will have their necessary healthcare needs met for the period of their stay”.

People will also retain the right to seek authorisation to receive planned medical treatment abroad, funded by the home state.

However, the UK has decided not to maintain participation in the Erasmus university and work placement exchange scheme.

The deal, officially the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement, must now pass through final ratification procedures by the EU governments and in the UK Parliament. 

It is expected to obtain a provisional authorisation to enter into force on January 1, pending a vote in the European Parliament.

Read more:

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