Thousands of Britons moving abroad will lose their rights to healthcare coverage when they visit the UK and must pay to use NHS services.
Anyone who has moved to the European Union after the Brexit cut-off date of Dec 31 2020 will face an “administrative nightmare” as they will be stripped of certain NHS entitlements.
About 460,000 British pensioners, the most common NHS users, already live in the EU, plus hundreds of thousands more people of working age.
But new expats could face large NHS bills when returning home if they require healthcare, as they will no longer be covered by the British state.
Those visiting the UK will be charged 150pc of the cost of NHS treatment, even if they are British nationals. The NHS operates using residence-based qualification, which means anyone living in Britain and officially a resident is covered.
Britons abroad no longer qualify. Even those still paying tax in the UK, or who own a property, do not count as “residents”, Chetal Patel, of law firm Bates Well, warned. She said: “That’s a common misconception, and people may not realise the repercussions.
“Many British expats may simply have not known that this was another hurdle to climb. This could cause a headache to expats as they try to navigate the issues.”