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Loss of Healthcare threat to the Expat Dream

When we are knee deep in rain the United Kingdom, most of us at some point start dreaming of buying a holiday home abroad or even taking the plunge and moving abroad on a permanent basis. In recent years the number of Brits becoming Expats has grown considerably, many retiring people found that they could sell their home in the United Kingdom, buy a property abroad and still have money left over to enjoy a decent lifestyle. Now, however, thousand of Brits who moved to France in search of this dream lifestyle may be forced to return to the United Kingdom if plans top scrap health care for expatriates goes ahead as planned

The new rules which came in to force on the 1st October mean that Brits who have taken early retirement in France can no longer rely on the National Health service to pay for their medical bills and they will have to effect their own Expatriate Medical Insurance. Whilst the purchase of private medical insurance is fairly easy in France and other European countries, most policies will not cover you for any kind of pre existing medical condition. This type of cover is often available but it can be at a fairly hefty price.

The French social security released a statement last week that inactive persons below the age of retirement would no longer have access to the state run medical scheme, in stead they would have to buy private medical insurance. Apparently, these rules not only apply to new comers but to all early retires and unemployed people already in France and benefiting from universal state cover (Couverture Maladie Universelle)

Many believe that this new ruling may be in breach of European Rules, certainly removing healthcare from disabled expats is not going to be popular and will do nothing for the image of France abroad and may serve to dampen the French property market.

Under the CMU, patients pay their own bills then reclaim them from a local CMU bureau. A charge is levied for this service of up to 8% of income. Under the current rules, Brits who move to France to live, are covered for up to two years by virtue of the E106 form. Once they reach retirement age, they are entitled to national health cover paid for by the British Government via an E121 form. Under the new rules any inactive Brits ( or other nationalities for that matter) who have not reached retirement age cannot claim CMU. It must be stressed however that emergency cover is not effected and you will still receive treatment.

Expatriate medical insurance varies is cost quite dramatically depend dent on the usual underwriting factors such as age and the state of your health. If you are fit and health costs will be reasonable, however if you have a pre existing medical condition, you may find that premiums are beyond your means. Expatriate medical insurance is available from Assetsure who would welcome any enquiry.

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