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

We look at the rules for accessing healthcare in the UK as an ex-resident 

We look at whether British residents of France can use Ehic cards on UK visits Pic: Ascannio / Shutterstock

Reader Question: Can Ehic cards be used in the UK now it is not in the EU? The UK does not appear in the list of countries you have published in your latest Connexion so presumably the cards cannot be used for emergency healthcare when a UK citizen, who resides in France, is visiting the UK

The UK government states that: “because the NHS is a residency-based system, under NHS rules UK nationals who move abroad on a permanent basis lose their entitlement to free NHS healthcare.”

However, you may be able to access NHS services for free depending on when you moved to France. 

“If you are a UK national and move to the EU, you should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK unless you have an EHIC, PRC or S2 to show your healthcare costs are funded by the EU country in which you now live, or another exemption applies,” the UK government adds. 

“Some former UK residents do not have to pay for NHS treatment when visiting England. This includes UK war pensioners, UK government employees, and UK nationals living in the EU on or before 31 December 2020.

Pre-Brexit, the UK allowed its state pensioners living in the EU to use NHS services free of charge on presentation of a copy of their S1. The rules on this have now changed.

The UK’s Department for Health and Social Care told The Connexion that anyone who was living in France before 2021 (the end of the Brexit transition period) and who had registered their S1 with a French Cpam before then, can continue to use the NHS free of charge on visits. 

Those with this entitlement should take a copy of their S1 to show as evidence in the UK, if necessary.

This does not include newcomer pensioners with S1s issued since January 1, 2021. 

Alternatively, it should be noted that French cartes européennes d’assurance maladie Ceam cards (the equivalent of Ehics) continue to be recognised in the UK, a point agreed in the EU/UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

It means people insured in the French system through work or due to residency under Puma (eg. early retirees) and who have a French Ceam can continue to use these in the UK as before to access medically necessary healthcare if required during their trip.

If you are charged for using the NHS on a UK visit, the government warns that you will have to pay 150% of the standard rate. 

Some services or treatments carried out in an NHS hospital are exempt from charges, so they're free to all.

This includes:

  • Treatment as an outpatient in an A&E department 
  • Treatment for most infectious diseases, including STIs

Related articles 

Explainer: How French residents can access healthcare in UK on trips

Brexit updates: Ehics, EU citizenship ruling, reaction to Brexit study

Post-Brexit travel healthcare: What is a UK ‘CRA’ Ehic card?

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