Government updates advice on reciprocal healthcare arrangements in case of no-deal Brexit

The government has updated its advice on the continuity of reciprocal healthcare, in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal

The government is updating UK nationals on the Department of Health and Social Care’s plans for the continuity of reciprocal healthcare arrangements in the event we exit the EU without a deal.

All UK nationals who are planning to reside in, travel to, work or study in the EU or European Free Trade Area (EFTA) states (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) are strongly advised to check the country-specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been working closely with EU member states and EFTA states to protect existing healthcare arrangements for these and other groups. However, it is not possible for the UK government to guarantee access unilaterally to healthcare abroad.

UK nationals, including those with pre-existing conditions, planning to visit a country in the EU/EFTA on exit day should continue to buy travel insurance.

Substantial numbers of UK nationals will already be eligible for or enrolled in local health services, because of their residency, benefits or employment status. There is no reason to think that a no-deal scenario will affect these arrangements where EU countries offer equal access to healthcare.

UK nationals resident in the EU are advised to register their healthcare entitlement with their local authorities, if they have not already done so.

Some EU member states have prepared their own legislation for a no-deal scenario. Spain has publicly committed to healthcare access for resident and visiting UK nationals

The UK and Ireland are committed to continuing healthcare access within the Common Travel Area.

The UK has already agreed with EFTA states to protect citizens’ rights, including healthcare.

The UK will fund healthcare for UK nationals who have applied for, or are undergoing, treatment in the EU prior to and on exit day, for up to one year.

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Those who have their healthcare funded by the UK and are resident in the EU on exit day can use NHS services in England without charge when on a temporary visit

If EU member states do not agree to extend the existing healthcare arrangements before exit day, many of the arrangements for access to healthcare in the EU would change for UK nationals. Healthcare arrangements in many member states would revert to those that apply to the rest of the world.

In a no-deal scenario, UK nationals may no longer be able to use their EHICswhen travelling to the EU.

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