As current Brexit negotiations stall to a deadlock, the process is looking far from the “easiest thing in human history” that was promised by prominent Leave campaigners. But, there have been certain agreements reached that haven’t made the headlines. One of which is that mutual healthcare coverage for British and EU retirees is set to continue.
With the media looking at the bigger, overall Brexit picture, it’s easy to see why some negotiations that have reached agreement are being overlooked. As trade deals and divorce bills for the UK continue to dominate airtime and column inches, perhaps more could have been reported on certain agreements that will see no change and be beneficial to hundreds of thousands of British and EU retirees.
Good News For British Pensioners
Attempted negotiations have tried to find amicable solutions for the legal rights of EU citizens in the UK. And while that continues, it’s significant that we’re seeing actual progress being made in other certain areas. And one, among several key points for the thousands of British pensioners enjoying retirement abroad, is the issue of ongoing healthcare.
It’s been confirmed that, after Brexit, all British pensioners that have settled in other EU countries will continue to receive healthcare paid for by the NHS. Though the deal has only been agreed “in principle”, there’s no reason to believe this crucial advance won’t get rubber-stamped before too long.
Brexit Secretary, David Davis, commented “this is good news for British pensioners in the EU” and the news is bound to bring a collective sigh of relief for British expats abroad. But it will also be welcomed by the 85,000 European retirees settled in the UK. The healthcare deal is reciprocal and will also work in reverse, so EU pensioners will continue to receive healthcare from the NHS in the same way.
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Insurance Card Cover Stays
As part of the deal, it’s understood that the agreement will also allow British pensioners in the EU continued use of their existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). For British retirees in any EU country, it means that they can still go on holiday to other EU countries, and still receive healthcare with the card should they need it.
Apparently, Davis had been pushing for the continued use of the card to cover all British tourists as well. However, talks of wider issues like this have been put on hold until the main issues affecting EU citizens are resolved.
Reassurance For Expats
Astonishing figures released by a parliamentary select committee earlier this year, shows that Britain reimburses other EU countries to the sum of £650m for treating British patients in the EU. Approximately £500m of that overall amount goes on treating 190,000 registered pensioners with the highest of those pensioner figures, as expected, attributed to popular retirement destinations of Spain, Ireland, France and Cyprus.
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So as the Brexit juggernaut rumbles on, it’s heartening to finally see some progress being made to protect both British and European pensioners healthcare as they enjoy retirement in reciprocal countries. There’s still much work to be done, but for now, the healthcare deal is a reassurance for all expats, and one less thing to worry about when so many issues on the Brexit agenda are still up in the air.