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UK S1 health forms of retirees in France delayed by glitch

Some UK pensioners are facing a wait for vital health forms which are also needed for residency card applications

A ‘technical issue’ is causing delays in processing the S1 healthcare applications of some Britons who have moved to France, The Connexion has learned.

The body that processes the applications, NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), is aware of a technical issue affecting its ability to validate the entitlements of some Britons who have moved abroad in the EU.

Although this has coincided with the start of ‘full Brexit’ this year the technical problem is however said not to be related to it and the body is working to resolve it as soon as possible.

The Connexion checked the situation after readers David and Jacqueline Price contacted us regarding delays with obtaining their S1s.

They said in an email: “We requested our S1 forms on January 15 and received an email confirmation.

“It was suggested that we chase our application up after 15 working days if we hadn't received the S1s. At this point there was no indication of any problem. In fact the email said ‘please accept this email as confirmation that an S1 certificate of entitlement has been sent to your overseas address’.

“Yesterday we phoned to chase and we were told there was a large backlog.

“The lady said that she was only authorised to say that they were working through them. She was not authorised to give any indication of timeframe at all and could not confirm if they had already been posted.

“Sadly this means we must continue to pay for private health insurance in the meantime, which is very frustrating.”

UK state pensioners covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) – ie. those who moved before 2021 – maintain their right to S1 forms under that deal, as do younger Britons covered by the WA who will draw a UK state pension later.

This means the UK continues to pay for its pensioners’ healthcare in EU countries to which they have moved.

Continuation of the UK’s participation in the S1 scheme is also part of the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (also known as the ‘future relationship deal’), meaning that newcomers to France may still apply for one in 2021.

For WA retirees, obtaining an S1 form and registering it with a local Cpam state health insurance authority is a necessary step to applying for one of the obligatory new Brexit WA residency cards. Without proof of registration with the Cpam, showing a comprehensive private health insurance policy is required.

We understand that once the ‘issue’ is resolved, processing of applications that are on hold will resume as quickly as possible and certificates will be issued the day after the entitlement has been validated.

Applications for S1s for UK pensioners who have moved to France can be made by contacting the Overseas Healthcare Services, which are now run by NHSBSA, an agency of the Department of Health and Social Care: 0044 (0)191 218 1999, Monday to Friday 8:00 to 18:00 UK time.

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