Early Retirees S1 Abolition Confirmed
Tuesday 06 May 2014
The UK government have confirmed the abolition of S1 health certificates for early retirees, as well as 'co-payments' in relation to the European Health Insurance Card for visitors to Europe.
The changes will take effect from 1st July 2014, two months later than initially planned.
In relation to S1 certificates, the Government have announced that:
"Residual S1 forms are currently issued to early retirees moving to another EEA country and not taking up employment, providing a temporary period of healthcare cover for maximum period of 30 months, dependent upon the individual’s recent national insurance contribution record in the UK.
Applications for residual S1 forms will no longer be accepted after 1 July 2014.
This change does not affect current holders of residual S1s or the right of UK state pensioners to access healthcare when they retire to another EEA country.
These payments are not required under EU law, so the UK is currently going over and above its European obligations."
This change will mean that early retirees relocating to France will either be required to set up a business to gain access to the health system, or take out a private health insurance policy. We shall be taking a closer look at both these options in later Newsletters.
Alternatively, if you are moving sometime this year, one other option is to make an immediate application for a certificate, even though you will not be able to benefit for the full entitlement period. The statement merely says that applications will not be accepted after 1st July; it does not say that applications made before this date for a future foreseeable date will not be honoured.
The entitlement to an S1 of unlimited duration of those on a State Pension remains unaffected.
European Health Insurance Card
As far as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) changes are concerned, they have stated:
"EHIC co-payments are the payments individuals may need to make when accessing healthcare in another EEA country using their EHIC card where that country requires a financial contribution from its own citizens, for which reimbursements can currently be claimed from the UK.
These reimbursements will cease from 1 July 2014.
It will still be possible to claim reimbursements for any course of treatment received before 1 July, and for a treatment started before 1 July and continuing beyond that date during a particular stay in another EEA member state, e.g. a continuous stay in hospital."
The abolition of co-payments means that visitors to France will now only have health cover for those charges that are picked up by the French State.
Unlike the UK, French healthcare is not free at the point of delivery, as there are residual charges that have to be met by the patient. Most of those resident in France cover these charges via a complementary or 'top-up' insurance policy.
In general, around 70% of routine medical costs and 80% of in-patient hospital costs are covered by the State.