British state pensioners in France who use a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) for healthcare cover when they visit other European countries for holidays can apply for a new card which will be valid from January 2021 onwards.
Current cards can only be used up to December 31, 2020, but if you apply now you should get your new card before December 31, 2020. They will be valid from the date you receive them.
It applies to anyone who has a registered S1, E121, E106 or E109 because they receive a qualifying pension or benefit, are a frontier worker who works in one state and lives in another or are a family member of a frontier worker.
After a reader had problems using the UK government website originally given in this article as he could not put in a French address, the Connexion rang the Ehic service in the UK who said it was best to renew a card by ringing them on 00 44 191 218 1999 and giving your email so they can send you a link directly to the relevant page. She confirmed that someone can apply using a French address as long as they have an S1 and existing Ehic card.
The reader tried out the link given to him after ringing the number and completed the simple application in minutes.
This is the link to the relevant page.
Ehics are used for healthcare when you travel and are valid in EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. They cover you for any medically necessary, state-provided healthcare. The NHSBSA website warns that your Ehic is not a substitute for travel insurance, as it may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs.
The equivalent for people working and resident in France is the French Ceam card.
The British in Europe (BiE) coalition of groups campaigning for the rights of UK citizens in the EU welcomed the new NHS Business Services Authority guidelines, saying on its Facebook page: “This is good news, I think, as the new Ehics will no doubt verify that you have continued rights to use them under the WA.”
The EU has confirmed to Connexion that Britons living in France, and who benefit from the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) will still be able to use French Ceam cards for visits to the UK in future. It is not clear how this will work in practice but showing a Brexit residency card may help prove those rights.