Can I Get Free Health Care In The UK?
The UK’s National Health Service is currently one of the largest healthcare programs globally. Mainly financed through general taxation by the government, the system provides a huge number of free medical services to residents, including preventive, predictive, and personalized treatment plans.
Established in 1948, the NHS has continued to benefit residents of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland- member states of the United Kingdom.
Who is eligible for National Health Service in the UK? This has remained one of the most frequently asked questions by both UK residents and people from various parts of the world. Regulatory changes in 2015 provided guidance as to who is eligible to access free National Health Service in various hospitals in the region.
You should be able to benefit from NHS provided you are ordinarily a resident of any of the four countries. The term ‘ordinarily resident’ is broad but simply implies that you should be residing in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland to access free hospital treatment.
It is, however, important to note that eligibility for NHS does not depend on nationality, owning a property in the United Kingdom, payment of UK taxes, registration with a GP, contribution towards national insurance, or having NHS number. Visitors and former residents of the UK are affected differently by the new changes in eligibility. It largely depends on their current place of residence.
If you are a UK pensioner living abroad, you need to fulfill a few conditions if you are intending to fly back to the UK for free hospital treatment through NHS. Like other ordinarily residents, all you need to do is to register a valid UK S1 form with the concerned authorities in the country you are currently residing in. You also have to allow the UK government to pay for your healthcare.
If you are a nonresident of any of the four countries forming the UK, you are only eligible to free NHS services at the time of use for emergency treatment. The privilege, however, does not include hospital admission. Overseas visitors to the UK are charged for hospital care by the NHS.
For instance, if you are a citizen of either of the European Economic Area (EEA), you will be able to access free emergency medical care during your temporary stay in England provided you have a valid European Health Insurance Card. You will be charged for medical services if you don’t have the card.
Former UK residents, as well as individuals and families visiting from outside the EEA, require personal health insurance to access hospital treatment in the UK; otherwise, you will pay higher costs for medical care.
Can I get free healthcare in the UK if my brother is a citizen?
The answer is yes. However, the extent of services you can access without pay still narrows down as to whether or not you are ordinarily resident of the UK. Interestingly, the following services are free to all regardless of whether you are a resident:
- Outpatient treatment in the accident and emergency department
- Treatment for tuberculosis, pandemic influenza, cholera, and malaria
- HIV testing and family planning
It’s now clear that paying tax is the greatest way to support the UK healthcare system. But how do I register for PAYE online? This is where we come in. At WeAccountax, we offer simple steps that will make it easy for you as an employer to submit your registration online. Contact us or visit our website for more information on the same.