British expats could have free NHS treatment rights restored
British expats living overseas for more than three-months a year are currently denied access to free healthcare on the National Health Service but under new government plans that looks set to change.
Under the new plans, expats who have paid up to seven years of National Insurance payments will become eligible for free healthcare. The new plan is hoped to make things fairer as under the current rules only a person who is resident in the UK is entitled to treatment. This method however has been branded unfair as it allows migrants who may not have paid any national insurance in the UK eligible for free treatment.
The government’s proposal is designed specifically to halt the rising cases of health tourism. Foreigners that move to the country just to receive free healthcare has become a major issue in the UK with the Conservatives taking action to counter the growing outrage of such ‘tourists’ and the burden they put onto UK taxpayers.
Another aspect of the new proposal will see temporary residents who originate from outside the European Union paying a contribution towards the cost of their healthcare.
The new proposals could prove to be a big help for people wanting to move abroad to retire but are unable to due to healthcare expenses overseas. For expats living in countries like Australia however it is likely to not make much difference due to the sheer distances involved but for expats living in Europe it could prove to be invaluable.