State pension warning as certain Britons set to incur 'large costs' for NHS treatment

NHS explain what a Prescription Prepayment Certificate is

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Many State Pensioners will decide to retire abroad in the hopes of pursuing later life overseas. While state pension payments can offer important support financially, these Britons are being warned of additional costs which may arise. New rules mean UK citizens who have moved to the European Union since December 31, 2020 will not be able to get free NHS healthcare when they come back to the UK on visits.

Because of the UK’s departure from the EU – Brexit as it is commonly known – eligibility has changed.

The NHS has a residence-based qualification system and with Brexit, there is no NHS cover in the UK or ability to get coverage.

Individuals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK are therefore classed as overseas visitors – which means charges may apply.

This is inclusive of former UK residents, even those currently in receipt of a state pension.

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state pension NHS care

State pension warning as certain Britons set to incur ‘large costs’ for NHS treatment (Image: Getty)

Any treatment a person may have to pay for will be charged at 150 percent of the national NHS rate. 

This policy was first brought in a number of years ago to deter so-called health tourism. 

With a potentially hefty cost, Britons who are affected are being encouraged to take action on the matter. 

Securing health insurance, it has been suggested, could be a good form of protection for the future. 


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Gavin Pluck, Group Managing Director at Blacktower Financial Management Group, commented on the matter.

He said: “It’s frustrating for UK expats to hear they will no longer be entitled to free NHS healthcare when returning to the UK on visits.

“However, it is important to note that those who left UK soil to become residents of the EU before December 31, 2020 are still entitled to NHS healthcare and will not be affected.

“This will result in large costs for many expats who return to the UK for treatment.

state pension

State Pension UK: What is State Pension? (Image: EXPRESS)

“But it is now – more than ever – important to emphasise how crucial it is to purchase travel insurance that covers health costs in the UK.”

Taking out travel insurance is likely to be a priority for individuals who have pre-existing healthcare conditions.

However, if a person chooses to return to the UK permanently, then their entitlement will change.

The Government website states these individuals are considered as “ordinarily resident” in the UK and will have free NHS care restored immediately.

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Previously, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told “The NHS is free at the point of use for UK residents.

“Visitors will be entitled to accident and emergency support and urgent services that they need.

“Visitors who require secondary care are required to cover the costs of this – unless they are exempt – and we recommend they ensure they are covered through personal medical or travel insurance before coming to the UK.”

William Murphy

William Murphy

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