Government reports on healthcare arrangements in event of No Deal Brexit

Government reports on healthcare arrangements in event of No Deal Brexit

Ministers have notified Parliament about transitional healthcare arrangements across the EU if the Government is unable to secure a deal. They say they are working hard to secure a deal that covers healthcare arrangements, but ‘it is important that people understand what will happen if the UK leaves without a deal and what support the Government has put in place for that scenario’.

The Government says their priority is to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements with member states when we leave the EU. That is why the UK Government has proposed consistently to all countries that existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements (under Regulation 883) continue until 31 December 2020 in a no deal scenario. These arrangements safeguard healthcare for the hundreds of thousands of UK-insured persons who live in Europe or require medical treatment while holidaying in Europe. They also ensure that EU citizens can receive healthcare in UK, whether they are here on holiday, or to live and work.

Current EU reciprocal healthcare arrangements (Reg (EC) No 883/2004) support large numbers of UK nationals living in, working in, or visiting the EEA or Switzerland to access healthcare. The arrangements require equal treatment between EU citizens when accessing healthcare in other member states. Any EU citizen resident in the UK who moves to the EEA or Switzerland can access state-provided healthcare by paying the same taxes as nationals of that country or people who are eligible for state healthcare.

In addition, the UK reimburses other member states for the state-funded element of healthcare for certain groups known as ‘UK-insured’ who do not need to pay local taxes:

(a) S1the UK covers the healthcare costs of S1 holders, which include state pensioners, people with disability benefits, certain workers and their dependents living in the EU.

(b) European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – the UK funds ‘needs-arising’ healthcare when UK residents visit the EU temporarily (for tourism, study or work).

(c) S2the UK Government funds UK-insured individuals who travel to receive pre-authorised planned treatment in the EU (e.g. maternity).

The UK administers reciprocal healthcare, including paying for overseas medical costs, on behalf of England, Scotland, Wales, NI and Gibraltar.

Arrangements are already in place with a number of member states, and the UK Government is still seeking further reciprocal agreements ahead of leaving the EU on 31 October. The Government is currently undertaking technical discussions with countries such as Belgium who have already passed domestic legislation that will support reciprocal healthcare with the UK after Brexit.

The UK Government stands ready to reciprocate all arrangements with MS, and has the necessary legislation in place, under the Healthcare (EEA and Switzerland Arrangements) Act 2019 and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

Reciprocal arrangements with Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and other EU countries are detailed in the Government’s statement.

The full statement is at:


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