APPLICATIONS for temporary S1 health forms for people from the UK going to other EU states will no longer be accepted as of July 1, says the UK’s Department of Health.
The stoppage of the forms, that allow early-retiree expats up to two-and-a-half years of French state health cover, has been under consideration since last year and it was initially suggested that the UK might cease issuing them last month.
A junior health minister, Jane Ellison, confirmed the new date in a statement, adding that at the same time the government will stop making “EHIC co-payments” which refers to the UK refunding EHIC holders for the part of travellers’ healthcare in other EU states that is not refunded to the state’s own citizens, in countries like France which have partial refund systems.
The minister said the UK is not required under EU law to do either of these and is the only country providing S1s to early retirees.
The effect is that no more applications for “residual” (temporary) S1s will be accepted after July 1, the statement said. However “this change does not affect current holders of residual S1s or the right of UK state pensioners to access healthcare when they retire to another EEA country”.
This means that permanent S1s – mainly issued to UK state pensioners – will still be issued. A Department of Health spokeswoman added: “These changes only apply to new applications for residual S1s. All existing residual S1 forms will remain in place and continue to be valid until their cessation date.”
The changes (including ceasing EHIC co-payments) are estimated to mean a saving of “up to £7 million a year” to the UK, which the spokeswoman said “could be put back into frontline care”.
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