No-Deal Brexit: Government announces minimum 6 month healthcare coverage for UK nationals living in the EU

The UK Government has confirmed that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31st October 2019, it will offer healthcare coverage to UK nationals living within the EU whose healthcare costs are paid for by the UK.

The government has proposed to each Member State that, in the event of a no-deal scenario, they continue existing healthcare arrangements until 31st December 2020. However if this is not agreed before the UK leaves the EU, which is currently set for the 31st October 2019, the government’s safeguard measures will apply.

Healthcare arrangements for British Citizens living in Ireland have already been agreed, and will remain unchanged in the event of the UK’s departure from the EU, while an agreement with Spain will mean those living in the country will retain the same rights until 31st December 2020.

UK Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, commented that:

“Protecting the healthcare rights of UK nationals is a priority of this government. While the government continues to work towards a good deal, I am today announcing that pensioners, students and UK workers living in the EU will have their healthcare costs covered for 6 months after 31 October, whatever the circumstances of Brexit. All UK nationals in the EU should act now and take the simple steps needed to secure their access to healthcare.”

The UK government has proposed the following safeguards:

  • Six months’ healthcare coverage for the 180,000 UK nationals living within the EU whose healthcare costs are paid for by the UK
  • Further healthcare coverage for those who apply for local healthcare coverage within the aforementioned six month period or the local timeframe, whichever is the shorter, until such time as they become registered with the local scheme. This should avoid gaps in coverage
  • One year’s healthcare coverage for UK nationals living within the EU who are in the middle of treatment courses as of 31st October 2019. UK nationals living in the EU will also be able to return to the UK to temporarily use the NHS for no charge

These commitments build upon previous commitments to maintain healthcare coverage for:

  • UK students who commenced an academic course in the EU before 31st October 2019, for the duration of their course
  • UK nationals who commenced their trip to the EU before 31st October 2019, until their return to the UK

For further information, please see the NHS travelling and living abroad guides.

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Published on 26. September 2019 in News, News EU, News UK