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My wife and I and two daughters will be moving from US to UK in August, under a Tier 2 General visa. I understand we will be covered by NHS at that point. But what happens when we travel outside of the UK? For example, coming back home to visit family in the US, or vacations in EU? Does the NHS provide any health coverage when you're outside the UK? If not, does anyone have recommendations on an appropriate private insurance policy? (I work now for the University of Illinois and can probably get a COBRA for a short extension of my state-based medical insurance, but it's also limited in the support it offers for coverage outside of Illinois).
 

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My wife and I and two daughters will be moving from US to UK in August, under a Tier 2 General visa. I understand we will be covered by NHS at that point. But what happens when we travel outside of the UK? For example, coming back home to visit family in the US, or vacations in EU? Does the NHS provide any health coverage when you're outside the UK? If not, does anyone have recommendations on an appropriate private insurance policy? (I work now for the University of Illinois and can probably get a COBRA for a short extension of my state-based medical insurance, but it's also limited in the support it offers for coverage outside of Illinois).
Here are some links with info about this :
Travelling outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
Don't risk a huge medical bill in Europe : Directgov - Newsroom
EHIC - European Health Insurance Card

I would advice that you take an insurance anyway as the agreements does not cover everything,I have heard horror stories about British people ending up with huge medical bills because they thought the reciprocal agreement covered everything.
 

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Here are some links with info about this :
Travelling outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
Don't risk a huge medical bill in Europe : Directgov - Newsroom
EHIC - European Health Insurance Card

I would advice that you take an insurance anyway as the agreements does not cover everything,I have heard horror stories about British people ending up with huge medical bills because they thought the reciprocal agreement covered everything.
You are generally not eligible for EHIC as you are neither an EU citizen nor married to one.
So travel insurance is the best bet, and you can get a very cheap family policy online, such as £30 for two weeks for the whole family anywhere in Europe, or £50 for an annual policy. You can get a worldwide cover including US, but you normally need to be permanently resident in UK, and should you incurr a big bill in US (not difficult), the insurance company may turn down your claim after scrutinising your visa status. For smaller European claim, they probably won't bother.
 

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... I understand we will be covered by NHS at that point. But what happens when we travel outside of the UK? For example, coming back home to visit family in the US, or vacations in EU? Does the NHS provide any health coverage when you're outside the UK? If not, does anyone have recommendations on an appropriate private insurance policy?...
Not everyone is suddenly entitled to free NHS treatment. My husband is British through and through. When we found out he has cancer (last year), we also found out he was not entitled to free NHS treatment since he had been offshore for 6 years. We were living in Africa, and abandoned everything to have him treated in London privately (going with NHS wouldn't have been free, and the waiting list was up to a year). Luckily, our insurance provider easily coughed up just over 50 thousands quid (with just 2 days notice) to have his cancer operated on (at Harley Street).
Our insurance provider is 'Healthcare International'. We initially stayed with them because I have a spinal birth defect, and they were the only one that would roll me in (without even a medical check up). Now that husband has cancer, we will have to stay with them forever. Which we don't mind to be honest. I would even recommend them when people ask. They cover the whole wide world, which may be over the top if you only travel to the US.

Now we've decided to move to UK permanently. My spouse will be entitled to free NHS treatment soon. Africa is not exactly the place to live with cancer. :)

PS: My British friend had some blood test done in Canada about 2 years ago, and he was billed for that. No mention of NHS in anyway. And that was Canada, so I doubt NHS will reach out as far as the US. Especially NOT with the new 'NHS reform'.
 

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My wife and I and two daughters will be moving from US to UK in August, under a Tier 2 General visa. I understand we will be covered by NHS at that point. But what happens when we travel outside of the UK? For example, coming back home to visit family in the US, or vacations in EU? Does the NHS provide any health coverage when you're outside the UK? If not, does anyone have recommendations on an appropriate private insurance policy? (I work now for the University of Illinois and can probably get a COBRA for a short extension of my state-based medical insurance, but it's also limited in the support it offers for coverage outside of Illinois).
I'm sure the links that Joppa provided have all the information. I can say with a good deal of certainty that you should have travel insurance when coming to the US. As you know uninsured care in the US is astronomical, so it doesn't make sense to risk it. Just watch out about the application, some list citizenship others permanent residence as the criteria. Make sure to read the paperwork closely and you should be fine.

M
 

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Not everyone is suddenly entitled to free NHS treatment. My husband is British through and through. When we found out he has cancer (last year), we also found out he was not entitled to free NHS treatment since he had been offshore for 6 years. We were living in Africa, and abandoned everything to have him treated in London privately (going with NHS wouldn't have been free, and the waiting list was up to a year). Luckily, our insurance provider easily coughed up just over 50 thousands quid (with just 2 days notice) to have his cancer operated on (at Harley Street).
Our insurance provider is 'Healthcare International'. We initially stayed with them because I have a spinal birth defect, and they were the only one that would roll me in (without even a medical check up). Now that husband has cancer, we will have to stay with them forever. Which we don't mind to be honest. I would even recommend them when people ask. They cover the whole wide world, which may be over the top if you only travel to the US.

Now we've decided to move to UK permanently. My spouse will be entitled to free NHS treatment soon. Africa is not exactly the place to live with cancer. :)

PS: My British friend had some blood test done in Canada about 2 years ago, and he was billed for that. No mention of NHS in anyway. And that was Canada, so I doubt NHS will reach out as far as the US. Especially NOT with the new 'NHS reform'.
1) Thanks for the insurance cover recommendation. Will look into them before I leave Canada.

2) The NHS and Canada do not have reciprocal health care agreements, so unfortunately your British friend was charged for the bloodwork, just the same as if my Canadian friends needed care in the UK, they would have to pay the bill out of their own pocket (or use travel medical insurance).

If you think that the price he paid in Canada was steep, just imagine if he'd been in the U.S.A. I am a Canadian who lives near the US border and I am mortgaged to the hilt as far as travel health insurance goes because I live in fear of breaking my arm or getting injured or sick <2km south of the border and being stuck with a huge hospital bill at the end of treatment... the US doesn't subscribe to Canadian socialised medical care and as such no reciprocal treatment treaty exists between the two countries, so even to get an ambulance transport to the border (which they have been known to do for Canadians who fall ill in the US) would cost in the hundreds of dollars.
 
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