UK PENSIONERS, students and tourists in Spain could lose free healthcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Government has announced.
Expat retirees living in the EU using an S1 certificate, may no longer have their healthcare funded by the NHS after March 29.
It comes as the UK government yesterday published new guidelines for expats, tourists and students we crash out of the EU without a deal.
The updated advice also adds that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid for tourists and students on an Erasmus year abroad.
It will be a huge blow to almost 250,000 British pensioners who live in the other 27 countries of the EU.
In Spain alone there were 121,000 British over-65s living in Spain in 2017 – more than double compared with the decade before.
The announcement, published on the UK Gov website, read: ‘For residents who use the S1 certificate, this may no longer be valid after 29 March 2019.
‘The advice is to check what the latest healthcare arrangements are between the UK and the country British nationals currently live in.’
Expats are advised to register for access to healthcare in their EU/EEA country of residence and for tourists to make sure they have adequate health insurance.
It added that residents who are in the process of applying for official residency should take out separate health insurance.
The S1 certificate and the EHIC, are part of ‘reciprocal healthcare’ arrangements, in which two countries agree to repay their own citizens’ medical costs incurred in the other country.
After a no-deal Brexit, the individual deals will need to be arranged and signed one nation at a time – a process which will leave many expats in the dark for some months.