UK expats forced back home by Brexit may not have NHS coverage

Published:  23 Feb at 6 PM
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British MPs have been told UK expat returnees post-Brexit may not be allowed immediate access to the National Health Service.

Once Britain leaves the EU and cancels the reciprocal EU health scheme coverage, British pensioners may be forced to return to the UK but may not be entitled to immediate treatment via the National Health Service. A recent House of Commons hearing focused on UK retirees at present domiciled in France, all of whom are suffering anguish over the possibility of having to relocate to the home country. UK citizens, MPs were told, would need to comply with complicated NHS regulations as regards free heathcare.

A report by English language newspaper The Connection focused on the possibility of many thousands of UK citizens being forced to return to Britain as they were unable to afford private heathcare insurance in France. Many UK retirees in Europe have previously existing conditions as well as living on low incomes with their capital tied up in their French homes. A representative from the British Community Committee in France told it like it is, saying France would not cover their heathcare needs after Brexit as they had not paid in to its system.

British housing resources’ inability to cope with an influx of elderly Brits unable to sell their French properties was also on the agenda of the parliamentary meeting, as was the cost to social services of returnees. Estimates suggest up to 300,000 people would have to be homed and supported financially, a huge drain on government resources even if heathcare is not included. Convincing officials that a return from France is permanent may be difficult, as many have found already, and expats with no fixed abode on arrival may well be treated as medical tourists and forced to pay for treatment.
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