No Automatic Free Access to NHS: MediCare International Highlights Changes to the UK System for Expatriates in Europe

Wednesday, July 7, 2010 General News
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LONDON, July 6, 2010 Long term health insurance inanother country is an area UK expatriates will often not have considered inany detail, particularly if they were used to the free care available in theUK. The NHS is a residence-based healthcare system. Therefore, once a personhas moved permanently away from the UK they are no longer entitled to medicaltreatment under normal NHS rules. However, some overseas residents in receiptof UK State Pensions and some other benefits may be able to access limitedpaid for cover under the E121 scheme locally.

Medicare International's ( own researchsuggests many UK nationals who retire abroad to European countries such asSpain think that they will be fully covered locally via what used be known asthe E111 facility. Many are still unaware that a replacement system, theEuropean Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is now in place and E111s have not beenvalid for at least three years. Whilst the European Health Insurance Cardentitles short-term residents to reduced-cost and sometimes free medicaltreatment in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, itshould not be seen as a replacement for proper, comprehensive healthinsurance.

The retired expatriate market is therefore one which presents manychallenges for insurances companies. Medicare International ( are one of a small band of insurers who caninsure new applicants from any adult age right up to and beyond age 80 years.Inevitably there are some limitations to the cover and in particular,Medicare International will medically underwrite all new applicants age 65years and above. In effect this means that pre existing conditions declaredon the medical questionnaire would be excluded from future cover.

David Pryor comments, "The retirement market is one which our experiencetells us is likely to be more sensitive to claims than the norm. This ispartly a function of age, but from a psychological perspective, if a clientis feeling unwell, they are less likely to take a risk with their healthabroad than if they were in the UK, where friends and family might be on handto help take care of them. In practice, this means they will probably go tothe doctor more often."

David Pryor continues, "Our advice to anyone planning overseas retirementis to budget for some element of international health insurance, preferablywith a 24 hour assistance facility to assist with both foreign language andof course to access to hospitals and doctors in country, because in the eventof serious ill health, they cannot normally simply return to their country ofbirth and once again access the state system free of charge."

With over 25 years experience of supporting the international businesscommunity worldwide and clients from 86 nationalities in 114 countries,Medicare International - website http:// - is a majorprovider of health insurance for expats across the world.

For details of MediCare's International health insurance plans visit, email or call+44(0)20-7204-3700.

Note to Editors

MediCare International has been speaking fluent healthcare for over 25years ensuring simple, quick access to the best health facilities forexpatriates of all nationalities living or working abroad and protectionagainst the costs of inpatient and outpatient medical treatment. Currently,MediCare International has clients in 114 countries worldwide of 86 differentnationalities.

MediCare specialises in designing flexible medical insurance cover backedup with the assurance of 24-hour emergency medical assistance for clients andtheir families. Help, advice and support are only a telephone call away wheretrained professionals can authorise treatment/settle bills direct withmedical facilities, or arrange medical evacuation when necessary - whereveryou are in the world. Most medical bills are refunded within 10 days, makingthis one of the fastest settlement times in the industry.

MediCare International were one of the first insurers to offer genuinechronic care costs cover, so clients with long term medication costs can restassured knowing they will be covered.

Cover under group plans is also available to most local nationals.Discounted group rates start with just 3 lives and full medical historydisregarded exemptions are available on groups of 10 and over, makingMedicare one of the most competitive staff cover providers.For further information on MediCare International, please contact: Guy Stephenson/Jenny Duffy Nacelle Limited Tel: +44(0)20-8333-9125

SOURCE MediCare International

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