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British Expats to lose free NHS healthcare

Published: 17 February 2014

While many retired British expats around the world are used to being left in the cold by the British government with frozen state pensions, it has now announced plans to abolish a scheme which enables some expats to receive free health care.

The plan, announced earlier this month, is no joke despite being scheduled to be introduced on April 1st and will bring to an end an agreement where the NHS reimburses other European states for the health costs of non-working Britain who are under the state pension age.

The change will not affect retired expats over state retirement age, nor those carrying a European Health Insurance Card.

Cost cutting

Part of the ongoing cost cutting exercise by the NHS, the change could see living costs for those who retired early to leave the UK, rise once more. As quoted in the Telegraph, a spokesperson for the The Department of Health commented: "We are committed to ensuring that the NHS is sustainable and fair for the British taxpayer. The changes only apply to new applications. All existing residual S1 forms will remain in place and continue to be valid until their cessation date.

"We are continuing to work through the operational implications of the change and will make a further announcement once this work has been completed."

To date, expats who have already made NICs for the previous three years simply complete an S1 form and are then entitled to several years free health care under the scheme. The changes will mean that when existing S1 forms expire, they will be forced to purchase health insurance in their country of residence.

The Government has, however, clarified that if you are planning to move abroad then you should take action before April 1st, as you still may be able to squeeze your application through. For more information about the NHS and your options abroad, we urge our visitors to review the NHS websites for more information: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/movingabroad/Pages/Introduction.aspx

It is estimated that the government could save billions from the scheme, once again at the expense of the British expat.

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