Free EU medical care for expats to end soon

Published:  21 Mar at 6 PM
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Britons under the UK’s official retirement ages looking to emigrate to European sunshine destinations are about to lose their entitlement to free health care subsidised by the NHS.

At present, UK migrants under the age of 65 or 60 for women who're migrating to popular destinations in Europe are allowed two and a half years of free treatment at overseas hospitals courtesy of the National Health Service. To obtain the privilege, UK residents are obliged to complete the S1 form guaranteeing them and their families access to free health care in their destination country.

As part of a major NHS cost-cutting drive, from 1 April this year the privilege will be withdrawn from all men under 65 years of age and women under 60 who move abroad as part of early retirement. Those under the age limits and heading for France, Italy, Spain, Greece and other popular retirement havens will need to take up private health insurance covering all hospital treatment.

The change will also affect Brits who have already migrated and have filled in the S1 form as required. If the S1 form being used expires later than I April, the cut-off will be immediate, leaving those under the age limits already in ongoing treatment to fund it themselves.

Protests are expected, as retirees younger than 65 or 60 years of age who have paid into the NHS service all their working lives find themselves faced with extra expenses. Women who retired to northern France and other colder locations at 60 years of age on the UK state pension and who have already lost their winter fuel payments may at least be grateful they’re not losing health cover as well.
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