healthcare

Tens of thousands British expats in EU would return if they don’t get healthcare post Brexit

by Ray Clancy on June 2, 2017

The Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union should include an arrangement with all members that British expats should continue to receive health care in the country where they live, according to a new report.

Failing to do so could result in tens of thousands of pensioners moving back to the UK because they could not afford to pay for healthcare and if all expats did so it would cost the NHS an extra £1 billion a year.

(monkeybusinessimages/Bigstock.com)

Under the EU’s S1 programme, British pensioners have the right to go to any other member state and receive the same healthcare rights as the local population, paid for by their native country. Currently, some 190,000 British pensioners have chosen to leave the UK under this scheme and the British Department of Health pays around £500 million to other countries to cover their care costs.

However, a new report from think tank the Nuffield Trust, says that the costs of ending the S1 scheme could be considerably higher. The £1 billion figure has been calculated using NHS England’s estimates for the cost of different age groups, which reflect that older people tend to need more care.

It assumes that pensioners abroad have the same age structure as over 65s resident in England. It is around double the figure currently paid for the care of these people abroad. It is possible that UK pensioners abroad under the S1 scheme would be relatively healthier, and their care could cost less. However, evidence given by the Department of Health suggests they also believe costs could be close to twice as high if these pensioners were treated in the UK.

Even more difficult would be finding the staff and beds these people might need, the report adds. Looking at relative hospital demand by age group, some 190,000 people would require 900 more hospital beds and 1,600 nurses, as well as doctors, other health professionals, and support staff such as porters. This number of additional beds would be equivalent to two new hospitals the size of St Mary’s Hospital in London.

‘Unlike funding, these resources cannot simply be brought on stream at will. There are already too few nurses for existing requirements, while hospital bed occupancy is already at very high levels, especially in winter,’ the report points out.

The report also suggests that it may not be easy to continue after Brexit with reciprocal health care arrangements like S1 or the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) that covers travellers. These arrangements fall under the EU Social Security Coordination, and are considered a part of the system of freedom of labour, from which both Labour and the Conservatives say the UK will withdraw. However, the report adds that it is in the best interests of the NHS to see if a continued deal can be agreed.

‘There is also the possibility that this might be the tip of the iceberg. While precise estimates vary, there are a total of around one million UK citizens resident in the EU. If the next Government fails to secure a deal to allow them to retain the rights they currently hold, the NHS will need to care for all those forced by law or circumstances to return,’ it adds.

Nuffield Trust spokesman Mark Dayan said that it is possible that extra funds could be found for the NHS from any cancellation of Britain’s EU membership fees. ‘But whether or not these benefits will outweigh the significant staffing and financial costs Brexit may impose on already stretched services remains to be seen. That depends largely on the NHS being recognised as a significant priority as we enter the negotiations,’ he added.

{ 2 comments }

Thumbnail image for Hospitals in UK to charge foreigners for non-urgent treatment in advance from April

Hospitals in UK to charge foreigners for non-urgent treatment in advance from April

February 8, 2017 United Kingdom

Some foreign patients seeking non urgent treatment in hospitals in the UK will be refused unless they pay up front from April this year, it has been announced. The move is in response to overseas patients costing the country’s National Health Service millions of pounds in ‘free’ treatment. Many are supposed to pay but leave […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for France could see expats paying for health care if Le Pen wins Presidential election

France could see expats paying for health care if Le Pen wins Presidential election

January 17, 2017 France

Foreign citizens living and working in France could be asked to pay for their own health care for their first two years in the country under plans being drawn up by one of this year’s Presidential candidates. French people should get priority when it comes to benefits and health, according to Marine Le Pen, leader […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for More Americans Moving Abroad in Retirement

More Americans Moving Abroad in Retirement

January 11, 2017 America

More and more Americans are retiring outside of the United States, and those numbers are only expected to increase in the next 10 years, according to figures from the country’s social security administration office. The number of Americans choosing to live overseas when they retire increased by 17% from 2010 to 2015. That’s nearly 400,000 […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New healthcare system will have separate hospitals and health centres for expats in Kuwait

New healthcare system will have separate hospitals and health centres for expats in Kuwait

November 16, 2016 Kuwait

Annual health insurance costs for expats in Kuwait look set to rise next year as part of new healthcare legislation, which will also see the creation of a system with separate hospitals for foreigners. In effect the Kuwaiti Government is separating the health care of expats from the national service and it will mean that […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for 7 Things Only Expats Understand

7 Things Only Expats Understand

September 9, 2016 Health

Becoming an expat shapes your personality as it takes you through a journey of life struggles and challenges. Every expat goes through very particular circumstances, but there are some things that almost all of them will have experienced. Cigna Global, a specialist in expat health care, has gathered the list of the top 7 things only […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for New Zealand has most cost effective medical care for backpackers

New Zealand has most cost effective medical care for backpackers

September 6, 2016 New Zealand

If you are backpacking then New Zealand is the best place to fall ill or need medical treatment as it is the most cost effective, but India is the worst, according to new research. The survey aimed to identify the best and worst places to need medical treatment in the world’s most popular backpacker destinations, […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Few would be expats think ahead about healthcare costs

Few would be expats think ahead about healthcare costs

August 1, 2016 Europe

Some 40% of would be expats want to move abroad to achieve a better work-life balance, but many are also concerned about their health with few thinking about it before moving, new research suggests. Indeed 83% worry about finding a doctor in their new home country and only 42% sort out healthcare before arriving, according […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for U.S. most Expensive Place in the World for Private Medical Insurance

U.S. most Expensive Place in the World for Private Medical Insurance

July 30, 2016 America

When moving abroad, many expats – whether retired or working – often need private medical insurance. Now, new research shows the United States is the most expensive for health coverage in the entire world. Overall, the average cost of international private medical insurance in 2016 covers a range of US$7,608 to US$17,335, according to Pacific […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Ensuring your healthcare abroad: 6 things to consider

Ensuring your healthcare abroad: 6 things to consider

June 30, 2016 General

The following article was provided by Cigna Global and in no way represents the opinions of Expatforum.com staff or its community members. When relocating to a new country, it’s very important to secure peace of mind in as many aspects of your new life as possible; and ensuring that you and your family are covered […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Scandinavia tops healthcare satisfaction ranking

Scandinavia tops healthcare satisfaction ranking

May 3, 2016 Finland

Health care is an important issue for expats wherever they are in the world and it looks like they could be most satisfied if they live in Scandinavia. Sweden has topped a new ranking from customer satisfaction measurement consultants HappyOrNot, with Finland second and Norway third. Sweden scored a satisfaction rate of 92.37%, Finland 91.92% […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for UK wants to charge foreigners for emergency treatments

UK wants to charge foreigners for emergency treatments

December 8, 2015 United Kingdom

The UK is considering charging non-European Union citizens for the use emergency health treatment in British hospitals, including the cost of an ambulance and diagnostic tests. A consultation has been announced with the move coming on top of a change earlier this year, which saw non EU citizens living in the UK for longer than […]

Read the full article →
Thumbnail image for Visa and healthcare costs to rise for expats in Kuwait

Visa and healthcare costs to rise for expats in Kuwait

November 20, 2015 Kuwait

Expats in Kuwait are facing a rise in costs with visas fees increasing and health care access also set to become more expensive. The Interior Ministry has approved a proposal to increase expat fees for visas, which will affect those applying for visit and tourist visas, temporary residency, self-sponsorship and family dependency visas. The Interior […]

Read the full article →