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No-Deal Brexit Could See British & EU Expats Lose Free Healthcare

With such uncertainty still surrounding Brexit, it remains difficult for British and EU expats living abroad to know for sure what the situation will be on 31st October 2019, surrounding the need for medical insurance.

Will there be a deal or won’t there? That’s really what expats and overseas workers want to know.

The situation is extremely concerning for both UK and EU citizens. As a number of British expats rely on NHS reimbursements for healthcare treatments in the EU, while the same goes for EU citizens that rely on NHS healthcare in the UK - all of which is made possible under current EU agreements. Based on the lack of progress with negotiations, many believe there will be no deal. 

Is The UK Heading For a No-Deal Brexit?

In preparation for such a scenario, British government officials are warning British expats living in EU member states, such as Germany, Portugal and France, that losing access to their healthcare payments is a real possibility after the 31st of October if a deal isn’t reached. A statement on the UK government website before the first deadline in March 2019 reported: “Travellers who intend to use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) must check what the arrangement is with the specific country they are visiting as the card may not be valid.

“This advice also applies to students studying in the EU. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until 29 March 2019. After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.”

Furthermore, the NHS has also said that access to healthcare is likely to change for British travellers and working expats in EU, in the event of a no-deal Brexit situation. This has come as a huge shock to many expats, who had been led to believe that their healthcare would be protected, whatever the scenario. Some EU countries continue to reassure their British residents. A UK Embassy representative in Spain clarified that “it is a priority for the UK’s Department of Health, and for the British Embassy in Madrid, to ensure UK nationals living or working in the EU can continue to access the healthcare they need as we exit the EU.” NHS statements have also urged British tourists travelling during Brexit, to take precautions by purchasing travel insurance, in case of a no-deal.

Here at Healthcare International, we provide a diverse and varied range of insurance products for expats living in Europe and around the world. With so much uncertainty over the status of British nationals in the EU and European citizens living in the UK it’s never been more important to make sure you have adequate insurance in case of health emergencies. Healthcare International’s medical and travel policies have been designed for the international worker or traveller. We have special policies available for international students too. You can be sure they will continue to bring you peace of mind, no matter what happens with Brexit.