France would pay Britons’ healthcare for 2 years

Amid confusion over the payment of Britons’  healthcare in the EU in a no-deal Brexit, Connexion asked the French-based authority on social security coordination in Europe, Cleiss, for clarification – here it answers some of the points.

Cleiss’s responses help cut through growing confusion over how Britons in France would access healthcare after a no-deal Brexit, especially UK state pensioners who currently have their healthcare in France paid for by the UK under the EU’s S1 form system as this would end in a no-deal scenario.

Cleiss is a national French public body under the authority of the ministries of social security and of the budget, with responsibility for informing people about social security matters in a context of international mobility. Its director of documentation and communication responded to Connexion as follows:

Connexion: Things are becoming complicated in the context of a no-deal Brexit. Firstly, the French ordonnance on Britons’ rights in a no-deal says that “S1 holders would continue to benefit from health cover for themselves and their dependents under the same conditions as a person insured under the ordinary French state health insurance system”. But at the moment the UK pays for them [editor’s note: yesterday the UK said it would continue to pay as a last resort for six months after a no-deal Brexit]. Does this mean that France is prepared to pay for them for two years?

Cleiss: Yes, however article 7 of the ordonnance does not only concern UK pensioners but any people who are covered by the UK and living in France [editor’s note: this could also be younger people who have a long-term disability benefit, for example]

Connexion: In the case that France and the UK fail to sign a new social security convention during these two years, so as to secure people’s healthcare afterwards, we suppose that it is possible for British retirees living in France on a stable and continuous basis to have access to the French healthcare system on a residency basis, via Puma?

Cleiss:  Yes as long as they have been living in France in a stable and legal manner for at least three months.

Connexion: Another element in this situation is that there existed a 1956 UK/France social security convention [that included provisions on reciprocal pensioner healthcare and also uprating of state pensions] and we recall that after the Brexit referendum vote a leader of Cleiss was quoted in an interview saying that in the absence of any other arrangements being agreed it was possible that this would be reactivated after Brexit. What do you think about this now? [editor’s note: this convention was deemed to have been superseded by European free movement and social security coordination rules after the UK joined the EEC/EU, but it is still shown on French and British legislation websites].

Cleiss: The reactivation of this convention of 1956 is not envisaged, as we indicate at question 28 on this Brexit Q&A https://www.cleiss.fr/faq/brexit.html

Related articles:

- UK to pay six months of OAP healthcare in no-deal

No-deal healthcare: Update

UK should act now on pensions, health, benefits

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