top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

UK retirees in France report problems getting travel health insurance

Some pensioners with a UK Ehic card and S1 form tell us they found it ‘impossible’ to find holiday health cover

French insurers would not give reader travel insurance with a health element due to her having a UK Ehic – British firms would not insure a resident of France Pic: Andrew Barker / Shutterstock

A British reader living in France reports difficulties finding travel health insurance after reaching UK state pension age.

Pensioners from the UK – or an EU state – are covered by their home country for healthcare in France under an S1 form and claim an Ehic holiday cover card from there, not France.

‘I spent two days trying to get cover’

The reader, from Corsica, said problems arose when she planned a walking holiday in the Czech Republic and was worried in case accidents were not fully covered by the Ehic system.

Her ‘top-up’ mutuelle could not help as it only tops up reimbursements from France. 

French insurers would not give her travel insurance with a health element due to her having a UK Ehic – and British firms would not insure a resident of France.

“It turned out to be impossible for me to get health insurance [other than the Ehic]. I spent two days trying but had to stop.” 

Luckily, her holiday passed without any illness or accidents.

Read more: Can an Ehic card be used by a resident of France on visit to the UK?

Care in UK could fall into gap

Whether travellers face some costs not covered by an Ehic depends on the health system of the country they are visiting and whether they use services excluded from the Ehic scheme, such as private healthcare, mountain rescue or repatriation after accidents or death.

While the NHS is ‘free’ for UK residents or people with an EU-country Ehic, this is not the case for UK state pensioners who have moved abroad post-Brexit and have a Ghic, the new British Ehic equivalent. 

Care in the UK, therefore, potentially falls into this gap for some Britons living in France although this would not concern primary care, such as a GP visit, which is free for all.

UK pensioners covered by the Withdrawal Agreement are still entitled to UK Ehics and can access the NHS free of charge.

Read more: Can I get a withdrawal agreement S1 when I turn 66 this year?

Spanish insurance offer aimed at UK expatriates

Our reader has an Ehic and it is unclear if her issue is linked to Brexit – for example, whether French and/or British insurers would have been more flexible before 2021. 

Another reader reported that her husband has the same issue, being unable to find travel health insurance as a UK Ehic-holder who, while ‘fit’, has some ongoing health difficulties.

Other readers on social media said premium French bank cards, such as Crédit Agricole gold cards, can help.

They also recommended Stay-sure, a Spanish insurance offer aimed at UK expatriates, and Cyprus-based Globelink, which offers travel insurance to clients across Europe.

Related articles

Travel and health coverage: How do I get French equivalent of Ehic?

Explainer: French healthcare terms that are useful to know

Make sense of duty-free shopping in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France