Home Forum Brexit Decoded Forum The Current Situation Healthcare after Brexit

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      BDGeorgeBDGeorge
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      Healthcare after Brexit: citizens of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland visiting the UK

      What you need to do

      If you are visiting the UK before or after Brexit, make sure you:

      Getting healthcare in England

      This section is about getting healthcare in England. The way you access healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be different from England if there is a no-deal Brexit.

      The UK government is aiming to agree reciprocal healthcare arrangements either with the EU, or with individual countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland if there is a no-deal Brexit. Reciprocal healthcare provides urgent, immediate or planned medical treatment at a reduced cost or, in some cases, free.

      This would not affect the rights of individuals covered by the citizens’ rights agreements with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

      Your healthcare cover may change if there is a no-deal Brexit, and the country you live in has not agreed reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the UK. Check with your health insurance authority what has been agreed.

      Make sure you have adequate travel and health insurance so that you can reclaim any healthcare costs that you are required to pay.

      You can still use your EHIC or Provisional Replacement Card (PRC) issued by the country where you live if you start your visit to England before the UK leaves the EU. This cover will last until the end of your visit, even if it finishes after exit day. It will not apply on any future visits to the England.

      Travel insurance

      The government always advises visitors to the UK to take out travel insurance. This means that you can reclaim any healthcare costs you are required to pay from your insurer.

      Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare coverage to make sure you can get the treatment you need during your visit.

      European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

      Make sure you bring your EHIC with you when visiting the UK.

      EHICs issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, will still be valid until the day the UK leaves the EU. They may not be valid in England after this date, depending on what agreements the UK makes with individual countries.

      This would not affect the rights of individuals covered by the citizens’ rights agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

      Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel to the UK.

      Seeking planned treatment in England

      If you are coming to the UK for planned health treatment, you will need to make all the necessary arrangements yourself in advance. Planned treatment is not covered by your EHIC. You will be charged for treatment if you do not have valid documentation.

      This would not affect the rights of individuals covered by the citizens’ rights agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

      The S2 route

      The S2 route will no longer work if there is a no-deal Brexit and there are no reciprocal healthcare arrangements in place, except for individuals covered by the citizens’ rights agreements with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

      However, if you have requested authorisation from the relevant organisation in your home country for planned treatment under the S2 route before exit day, you will be able to complete that treatment in England, even if that treatment happens after exit day.

      You will be charged for treatment if you are coming to England after exit day for planned health treatment that is not covered by:

      • a reciprocal healthcare agreement
      • a pre-arranged S2
      • the citizens’ rights agreements with Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

      Visit the NHS website for more information on the S2 route

      The EU Directive route

      The EU Directive route will not apply in the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit and there are no reciprocal healthcare arrangements in place that include it.

      The EU Directive route does not apply to visitors from Switzerland.

      Visit the NHS website for more information on the EU directive route

      Studying in England

      You can continue to use your EHIC or Provisional Replacement Card (PRC) to access free NHS healthcare if you have begun a course of education or training in England before exit day. This will apply until the end of your course, even if it finishes after exit day.

      Your EHIC may not be valid if you start your education or training in England after the UK leaves the EU. You should buy insurance to cover your healthcare as you would if visiting another non-EU country.

      This would not affect the rights of individuals covered by the citizens’ rights agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

      People with pre-existing health conditions

      You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting the UK if you have a pre-existing health condition. You must tell the insurance company about any health conditions you have to make sure you can get the cover you need.

      Speak to your doctor for advice before you travel and make plans for how to care for your condition when you are in the UK. You should also take your health condition identification or letter saying what medication you are taking.

      Agreement with Switzerland

      The UK has agreed a citizens’ rights agreement with Switzerland. This agreement protects the rights of Swiss nationals who are visiting or living in the UK on exit day, if there is a no-deal Brexit. They will be able to access NHS healthcare as they do now.

      If you are a Swiss national visiting the UK after exit day, you may not be able to use your EHIC or PRC during your visit if there is a no-deal Brexit. You should buy insurance to cover your healthcare needs, as you would when visiting any other non-EU country.

      Find out more information on the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

      Agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

      The UK has made agreements with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. There is a separation agreement if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, and a separate citizens’ rights agreement if there is a no-deal Brexit. These agreements mean that citizens of these countries who are visiting the UK on the day the UK leaves the EU will be able to use the NHS as they do now until the end of their visit, even if it finishes after exit day.

      However, if you are visiting the UK after exit day, you may not be able to use your EHIC or PRC. You should buy insurance to cover your healthcare as you would if visiting another non-EU country.

      Find out more information on the EEA EFTA states Citizens’ Rights arrangements

      Agreement with Ireland

      Irish citizens visiting the UK, and British citizens visiting Ireland, will not need to pay for treatment if they fall ill or have a medical emergency during their visit.

      Irish citizens who are living in the UK, and British citizens who are living in Ireland, will continue to have the right to access healthcare in the UK. This is because of longstanding arrangements under the Common Travel Area.

      Find out more about the Common Travel Area between the British and Ireland

      Visitors from Spain

      If there’s no deal, the UK and Spain have each taken steps to ensure that people living in each country can continue to access healthcare as they do now until at least 31 December 2020.

      This means that that visitors from Spain will be able to use their Spanish-issued EHIC, S1 or S2 form after exit day until at least 31 December 2020.

      Getting healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

      The way you access healthcare in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be different from England if there is a no-deal Brexit.

      For more information, visit the websites for health services in each country:

      Source: gov.uk

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