Monday, 7 October 2013

Consultation process to abolish S1 certificates for Early Retirees

For many expatriates who plan an early retirement to another EU country, the initial route to healthcare in that country has been via the residual S1 certificate issues by the UK authorities.  This S1 certificate (which replaced the E121 in May 2010) is currently available for up to 2.5 years before actual state retirement age.

Tucked away in a consultation document on Migrant Access to the NHS is a proposal to end the issue of these S1s for early retirees.  Forecasts estimate that these “early” S1s cost the UK around £4 million and, since the UK are not legally obliged under the EU Regulations to issue these, it seems that these are now “up for discussion”!

The UK is the only EU country to offer these S1s to early retirees so it is a fair bet that these are going to be phased out.

This might have been particularly bad news for early retirees coming to France but it seems that, at long last, the French authorities are beginning to recognize their responsibilities in granting healthcare access to those who are permanent residents of France.  Since 2007, the French have played fast and loose with the European Regulations but, under threat of sanctions by the EU Commission, a new department has been established at the CPAM in Nimes to deal with healthcare access requests and it seems that the system is, in the main, on track. 

Those who have previously lost entitlement due to the expiry of an early retiree's S1 but who lacked five years residence qualification, can now apply to have their case re-examined and a spokesman for the service in Nimes agreed that they should now be granted access to the CMU - Couverture Maladie Universelle.  Applications should be made through the local CPAM office but the case will then be referred to Nimes which is to become a facility of "centralised administration" for these applications.