Expatriates not eligible for free medical care under NHS

For expatriates, the free medical care they receive under the NHS in the UK is not available to them when they are abroad .

As healthcare through the NHS is based on living in the UK, by moving permanently overseas, entitlement to free treatment is lost. Although some overseas residents who receive a UK state pension and some other benefits may be allowed to access to limited paid cover.

Research carried out by Medicare International found that many UK nationals retiring to countries such as Spain believe that they will be fully covered locally through the E111 facility and may not know that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced E111 three years ago.

Even though EHIC entitles short-term residents to reduced-cost and occasionally free medical treatment in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Iceland, it is not an alternative to comprehensive health insurance . David Pryor, senior executive director of Medicare International, said: “Our advice to anyone planning overseas retirement is to budget for some element of international health insurance .”

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