EC pressures France to backtrack on expat healthcare denial

Published:  12 Apr at 6 PM
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The European Commission is pressurising France to reverse its denial of healthcare to expat retirees in the country.

The ongoing row over health care for expat pensioners began in 2007, when the French government brought in new rules stating that EU member country retirees living in the country were only entitled to free healthcare after a residence period of more than five years or if they were over the official retirement age. The rules caused chaos for early and recently arrived retirees.

Those affected were forced to buy private healthcare policies, with many refused cover due to long-term health problems. Those who were able to buy cover in their country of origin found that, after two years, they were obliged to change over to a French heathcare policy.

More problems surfaced due to different interpretations of ‘heathcare’, with some regions allowing retirees access to free services after three months’ residency and others holding fast to the five year rule. EC commissioner Jonathan Todd revealed that the French government had agreed that retired EU nationals in the country had problems with accessing medical care.

Todd added that the government would be putting into place new solutions aimed at making sure the situation would not continue. France’s failure to allow retired expats to access its free healthcare is in breach of EU free movement laws entitling EU citizens to work and receive social benefits in all EU member countries.
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