Brexit: A Health Insurance Guide for British Expats

Brexit will effect both British citizens and people who live in Europe. One of the issues that will arise from this is the healthcare relations that exist between the United Kingdom and the rest of the continent. For example, there are more than 780,000 UK citizens living in Europe. The number of these people will continue to increase, even though uncertainties loom over the next few years. Currently all British citizens living in Europe enjoy cheap or even free health insurance coverage. This may change, especially if there is a no-deal Brexit. If you are a British national living in Europe, you will need to prepare if something should go wrong. 

Expat Health Insurance & Brexit

The effect that Brexit will have on the health insurance of expats in Europe can be viewed from three angles. If there is a deal made between the United Kingdom and the EU. On the other hand, if there is deal struck, it may change the healthcare insurance for the people who live in Europe temporarily. However, if the United Kingdom cuts deals with individual countries individually it may provide continued healthcare for the people living in that country. 

Residencies in the United Kingdom are entitled to apply for a UK-issued EHIC that covers medically necessary state healthcare at a reduced cost. In many cases, the insurance can be free of charge during a temporary stay in another EU country such as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Overall, the UK has issued 27 million EHIC cards, which is equivalent to about £150 million worth of treatment under this scheme. 

With nearly a million British expats living in EU countries. As Brexit approaches, 84,000 people are expected move to an EU country, which is the largest number of people to leave the UK in up to 10 years. These individuals are only eligible to receive healthcare six months after a no-deal Brexit occurs. 

EU Citizens in the UK

There were around 3.7 million EU nationals living in the UK in 2018, according to official statistics. These people will be able to access the NHS free of charge, whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not. Should there be an agreement, EU citizens already in the United Kingdom and those who arrive before 2021. They will continue to be able to use public services, including NHS, free of charge if they apply for “settled status.” 


This uncertainty has people worried about whether or not they should be making adjustments to your healthcare agreements with the EU state that you live in. You may continue to receive UK government-funded healthcare coverage even in if there is a no-deal Brexit. In order to find out how Brexit will impact your healthcare coverage, you should consult the country you’re in. 

There are also some initial deals being made between the UK and other countries. For example, the French government has said that if the UK leaves without a deal UK citizens in France will continue to receive French state healthcare for two years. France has said that the two would allow time for the two governments to agree to new arrangements. The United Kingdom has said that nationals living in France should review their healthcare provision and consider registering as French residents. UK pensioners with an S1 document should register it with their local healthcare insurance office. 

According to the site MoneyPug, which is a platform used to compare health insurance, in Spain, there are an estimate 300,000 British nationals living in Spain, the highest number of any EU country. A Brexit without an arrangement would affect different groups of UK citizens in Spain differently according to the government. Pensioners, students, or workers sent temporarily to Spain by a company in the UK, you will be entitled to state healthcare as long as the UK government provides the same to Spanish citizens in the United Kingdom. 

There is a lot of uncertainty about Brexit, but healthcare affects people in a way not much else does. People are worried about what will happen to their benefits whether they are a UK national in Europe or an EU citizen in the UK. Only time will tell what will happen with Brexit, so it is best for everyone involved to prepare for the worst case scenario.