NHS Entitlement for UK Expats

17/07/2017

As many UK Expats will be flying back to Blighty over the Summer, I thought a reminder to take your international medical insurance membership card would be helpful. Remember with the exception of A&E, treatment on NHS is only free to UK residents.

NHS England is a residence-based system. The following is taken from their website:

If you are visiting England from a non-EEA country, even if you are a former UK resident, you need to ensure you are covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of your visit.” (source: NHS UK website)

If that was not clear enough they go on to say:

“If you need NHS treatment and you have not arranged insurance, you will be charged at 150% of the standard NHS rate.” (source: NHS UK website) 

If you have international medical insurance, check to make sure it covers you for temporary stays in your home country. Not all of them do. Medical insurance issued to Dubai residents must cover pre-existing conditions, something which is often excluded from the cheaper travel insurance option mentioned on the NHS website.

I would also like to dispel a myth that voluntary National Insurance Contributions (NICs) determine whether you can receive treatment free at point of delivery from NHS. This is not so. The reason for this confusion is not clear but it may have something to do with the name (National Insurance) and that when it was introduce at the end of WW2 the NHS was launched.

As non-UK residents we have many benefits but NHS is not one of them. Any questions please let me know or visit NHS website, click here.