UK pensioners in EU could lose healthcare access in event of no-deal Brexit

British pensioners living the European Union could lose their access to healthcare if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, according to Government guidance.

Information published by the Department for Health warned that a no-deal Brexit could render S1 certificates – which grant pensioners access to healthcare – invalid after March 29 this year.

The memo also notes that British students studying in the EU who have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will need to buy insurance to cover their healthcare after March 29, as if they are visiting a non-EU country.

The technical notice said: “S1 certificate helps you and your dependents access healthcare in the EU/EEA country where you live. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until 29 March 2019.

“After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

“You should go to the NHS website for the latest information on each country.

“You can continue to apply for an S1 certificate until 29 March.”

The UK currently has reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the EU member states, but these may cease to apply if Britain leaves the bloc without a deal.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokeswoman said: “Our priority is to ensure UK nationals living or working in the EU can continue to access the healthcare they need as we exit the EU.

“The Government is working closely with countries, including Spain and France, to make sure patients can continue to access healthcare, whatever the outcome.”

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