OAP healthcare in no-deal Brexit depends on new deals

Continuing healthcare for British state pensioners in countries like France after a no-deal Brexit would depend on decisions by each EU state to enter into bilateral agreements, confirms the UK government.

23 December 2018
By Oliver Rowland

Admitting that “in a no-deal scenario UK nationals resident in the EU may experience limitations to their access to healthcare services”, a new paper of ‘Brexit operational readiness guidance’ states that “the government is seeking to protect reciprocal healthcare rights through transitional bilateral agreements with other member states”.

A bill going through Parliament  is intended to make sure the UK is ready to sign such deals, which in the context of no-deal would have to be ready by March 30, 2019 or in the case of a deal would have to be ready by the end of 2020 if they are to protect future Britons coming to live in France after a Brexit transition period.

The paper says “the UK is working to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements, but this will depend on decisions by member states” and in due course it will issue further online advice on gov.uk and nhs.uk explaining “what options people might have to access healthcare under local laws in the member state they live in if we do not have bilateral agreements in place, and what people can do to prepare”.

The paper adds: “If UK nationals living in the EU face changes in how they can access healthcare, and if they return permanently to the UK and take up ordinary residence here, they will be entitled to NHS-funded healthcare on the same basis as UK nationals already living here.

“It is not possible to quantify how many people might return due to changes in reciprocal healthcare, and it is important to note that people might return to the UK for many other reasons such as changes in legal status or costs of living.”

This comes after the UK put out a similar statement concerning uprating of British state pensions.

The UK has now signed separate deals with those countries that are in the EEA and Efta (but not the EU) including protection of Britons' rights there (ie. Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland).

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