Health funding for UK nationals in EU protected for six months in no-deal Brexit

Health care access for more than 180,000 British nationals living in the EU will be protected in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Government has said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock pledged people living in EU states, including pensioners and students, who have their health care funded by the Government will continue to be covered.

Those protected will have their health care covered for six months after Brexit if the UK leaves the bloc without a deal.

The Government has proposed to each of the 27 remaining EU member states that, if the UK leaves without a deal, existing healthcare arrangements should continue until 31 December 2020 in the same way that they do now.

Ministers said that discussions were ongoing before the October 31 Brexit date.

Mr Hancock (pictured) said: “Protecting the healthcare rights of UK nationals is a priority of this Government.

“While the Government continues to work towards a good deal, I am today announcing that pensioners, students and UK workers living in the EU will have their healthcare costs covered for six months after 31 October, whatever the circumstances of Brexit.

“All UK nationals in the EU should act now and take the simple steps needed to secure their access to healthcare.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The UK Government will also provide cover during the time it takes to be registered with a local healthcare scheme.

“This is to ensure people are not exposed to gaps in healthcare coverage and potentially high costs while they register for healthcare locally.

“To be eligible for this support, people must apply within local timeframes or no later than six months after we leave, whichever is the shortest.

“The value of the commitment will ultimately depend on which EU countries accept our offer.

“We have performed modelling to assess the likely costs of the policy if it is required.

“This suggests the maximum expenditure the Government would expect to make if no further bilateral agreements are finalised may be in the region of £50 million in 2019/20 and £100 million in 2020/21, but could be significantly lower.”

The Government has also committed to cover the healthcare costs for students who begin their courses in the EU before 31 October for the duration of their course.

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