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The improbable political soap opera to which the implementation of Brexit has given rise inevitably worries the many British expatriates in the European Union: hard Brexit? Soft Brexit? Whatever the final decision may be, European legislation, particularly concerning respect of social protection, should continue to apply in a transitional manner in the United Kingdom until late 2020. But what happens after that?

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Healthcare cover post-Brexit: key changes

Post-Brexit, your healthcare rights may change depending on the agreements reached, as well as your personal situation and the country you live in. 

Current healthcare legislation

On 26 October 2018, the British government introduced domestic legislation enabling the UK to pursue reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the EU or its member states post-Brexit, in the event of a deal or no-deal scenario. This means that reciprocal agreements could potentially be reached with individual EU countries, even in the event of a no-deal. However, this would require the agreement of each country’s government.

S1 Certificates: still valid after Brexit?

An S1 certificate provides access to free healthcare for British citizens and their dependents living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland. Those who have worked and paid contributions in the UK, or receive some UK benefits such as pensions, may currently be eligible for the certificate.

S1 certificates may no longer be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The latest information for each country can be found on the NHS website, and more information can be found at (notice posted on 28 January 2019).

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) post-Brexit

British residents travelling to the EU and British nationals studying in the EU may currently be using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The UK EHIC and/or A1 National Insurance form may no longer be valid in the event of a no-deal. 

As of 28 January 2019, the British government advises students to “buy comprehensive insurance to cover your healthcare for the full duration of your placement, as you would if visiting a non-EU country”. Travellers are also advised to take out separate travel insurance for the duration of their stay. 

Claiming unemployment benefits post-Brexit

If you were receiving unemployment benefits in the UK before moving to an EU country, you may be entitled to continue receiving your benefits under the current rules.

At the moment, you can carry on receiving your benefits for at least three months, and potentially up to six months. Current EU rules for unemployment benefits will remain in effect until the Brexit date, or until 31 December 2020 if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified. 

Changes to pensions and taxable income after Brexit

Currently, the UK state pension is “uprated” every year for UK citizens living in the EU. This means that the pension amount is increased to meet UK inflation.

The UK government has confirmed in a policy paper that it will continue with this practice, at least for the year following Brexit, subject to reciprocity from the EU. 

Personal taxation should not be affected by Brexit. The UK has tax treaties with all individual EU countries aimed at preventing double taxation of citizens.

> Focus : Claiming a UK State Pension when retiring in France

Making sure you’re covered post-Brexit

While existing social security agreements may remain in force if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, or if the UK reaches agreements with individual member states in the event of a no-deal, British citizens should ensure that they are prepared for all potential Brexit scenarios.


APRIL International, health insurance for British expats in France
If you are a UK expat preparing for your life in France post-Brexit, it’s important to have comprehensive health insurance. Find out more about the plans we offer, and which one could be right for your circumstances.


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