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 NHS axes free health care for expats

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Gimp
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PostSubject: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:49 am

NHS axes free health care for expats
Thousands of British expats who have taken early retirement and settled in Europe will lose free access to their local health care system

The British government is set to scrap a facility by which UK citizens under the state retirement age can get free treatment in countries such as Spain and France when they do not qualify through employment.

The change is likely to occur on April 1, according to the Department of Health. It is one of series of cost-saving moves under review across the National Health Service.

It means that the NHS will no longer reimburse another European state for health costs incurred by non-working Britons under pensionable age.

Currently, many unemployed expats under age 65 (or women under 60) within the European Economic Area effectively pass their care costs to the Treasury.

They do so by completing Social Security residual form S1 before leaving the UK. This gives the holder, and probably his or her dependants, up to two and half years' free health care access.



Claimants should have made National Insurance contributions for the past three years to qualify for the full period of cover.

The changes do not affect people who already hold residual S1. However, once their current form lapses, those living in France would be obliged to buy private medical insurance.

The element of compulsion follows a 2007 crackdown on early retirees using the French system without having contributed to it

People living in the expat enclaves in Spain are likely to be similarly affected and required to buy insurance. Spanish regions with big north European communities have followed the French example.

A Department of Health spokesperson said the residual S1 provisions were not part of EU law.

She said: "
No other European state offers an equivalent to the residual S1 and the reasons for the UK doing so in the past probably arise because the NHS is different to continental systems."


The amount of money to be saved from the S1 move is unclear. However, 2,355 residual S1s were issued in the financial year 2012/13, with many valid for the full 30 months.

As a rough guide to what each S1 might cost the Treasury, the Department said the average cost per pensioner per month in France for health services was €372.12 in 2010 – roughly £4,000 a year at today's prices allowing for inflation.

The equivalent figure for Spain (2011) was €280.15, some £3,000 a year currently.

Scrapping the facility comes as part of an NHS efficiency review which includes a drive to crack down on immigrants from all parts of the world abusing the "
open door"
principles of the service.

According to some estimates, the total cost of medical services for ineligible persons could amount to as much as £2 billion a year.

The Department spokesperson said: "
We are committed to ensuring that the NHS is sustainable and fair for the British taxpayer. The changes only apply to new applications. All existing residual S1 forms will remain in place and continue to be valid until their cessation date.

"
We are continuing to work through the operational implications of the change and will make a further announcement once this work has been completed."


The requirement for some former S1 holders to have medical insurance will prove expensive, and potentially insurmountable, for those with serious pre-existing illness.

However, when this dilemma arose in France, exceptions were made. This followed negotiations between health officials in Paris and London because Britons made up the greater part of EU citizens affected.

If April 1 is change day, Britons seeking 2.5 years "
free"
health cover on the Continent have a small window in which to benefit from free cover.

One Briton about to move to Spain blogged on expatforum.com that he and his wife were eligible for the S1 and that "
we will be both covered by the S1 reciprocal agreement until January 2016.

"
We have to apply four to five weeks prior to moving, no sooner, and must have a Spanish address to put on the form – a permanent address can be added later.

"
After March 31 the UK government will no longer be issuing these certificates and private health cover will have to be sought until retirement, when the agreement will once again cover [us]."


The blogger said he had been assured by an official, when he rang to inquire about the measure, that his timing was "
perfect"
as "
a few months later"
and the couple would not have the benefit of such cover.

The changes do not affect people over state retirement age. Neither do they affect EU citizens seeking emergency care through the Ehic – European Health Insurance Card.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] ... xpats.html

Once again our fine government attacks vulnerable British people, now those who have worked and paid their NHS/Taxes their entire working life, are now being 'robbed' of theirs ??
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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:30 am

Thank you for the info Gimp I have also put it on our [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Facebook hope you don't mind. g

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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:20 pm

You more than welcome.
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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:22 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
You more than welcome.

T

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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:08 pm

It does mention it is for people not reaching retirement age, so how are they denying those people? Until you reach pension age then surely you haven't paid up in full for the NHS. I always presumed (probably wrongly) that people able to leave work for foreign shores before pensionably age were either wealthy enough or had a work contract and were thus covered for medical care or intended to continue to pay voluntary contributions. This is maybe what the powers that be, think too. For once I agree with them although I have sympathy with expats who assumed otherwise. It has never been easy to understand the bureaucracy of moving abroad and immigration to another country.
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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:13 pm

I never assumed i could get any health care free, other than when on holiday

Changing it though, its just yet another way of trying to win votes back from the idiots at UKIP , i dont think it will save anything, changing it will probably cost more than keeping it like it is, someone is probably being paid millions to change it.

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PostSubject: Re: NHS axes free health care for expats   Wed Feb 26, 2014 5:40 pm

Our government are more than keen to treat anyone from whatever corner of the globe they come from. Then afterwards complain that foreigners have left a staggering £3b bill over the past few years which has remained unpaid. Their way of retrieving it is to wipe the slate clean and take away health care from Expats. Another example of the present government being "
out of touch."


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