do we need medical insurance to visit the UK if we live in the USA now?

(35 Posts)
americanlife Sun 03-Jun-18 05:39:45

Medical insurance for visiting the UK? What do people do when they visit the UK with their US born children? Do I need to get medical insurance to cover them in case we need NHS access? Am I and my husband okay to use the NHS ( in an emergency) since we paid in to National Insurance for 15 plus years, before we moved here or are we no longer covered now we live in the US? Cover for all of us, two of us or none of us? Kids do not have UK passports yet but are entitled to them- not sure if that has any effect on it.

OP’s posts: |
PlumsGalore Sun 03-Jun-18 05:47:23

Access to the NHS is based on residency not citizenship or NI contrubtions.

You would all be covered for emergency treatment but that would be simply patching you up and sending you on your way, not any subsequent hospital stays or treatment or medication or GP visits.

You all absolutely need holiday insurance for the duration of your stay. You may be covered for overseas visits on your existing US medical policy. .

PlumsGalore Sun 03-Jun-18 05:51:29

To add, you should have it anyway without considering the NHS! Who would pay for you to be repatriated back to the US in the event of anything terrible happening?

I am sure you will all be safe and have a great trip, but it would be massively foolish to take a chance.

Candyflip Sun 03-Jun-18 06:00:15

You are covered. Your children may technically have “no recourse to public funds”. But you are British and you are entitled to use the NHS. I am not sure how fair it is though, so you may want to think about that? I am an expat, but still pay taxes in the UK.

FiveShelties Sun 03-Jun-18 06:06:42

You are not covered. As plums said, it is residence based.

You definitely need medical insurance.

PotteringAlong Sun 03-Jun-18 06:08:45

If you don’t live here now you’re not entitled to use the NHS. Get travel insurance.

americanlife Sun 03-Jun-18 06:13:47

OK- found a company but they only offer $25 K per person if hospitalized and that does not sound like enough. If we were in a car accident, which is what concerns me and hospitalized for days, the bills would quickly run up, even in the UK. I wonder if our car insurance will cover us? Anyone recommend an insurer ( US based)?

OP’s posts: |


americanlife Sun 03-Jun-18 06:15:10

We also still pay taxes as we rent out a former home there, but no we no longer pay into national insurance which is what funds the NHS I suppose.

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crayoladreamz Sun 03-Jun-18 06:29:04

I live in a country with no reciprocal health agreement with the UK. I've been to A&E a few times on visits back to the UK (once with bleeding badly in pregnancy)

Every time they've waved me through and when I've said "I actually don't live here I have to pay" they've looked at me as if I had two heads and said "we don't have a card machine, or any process to make up an incoice. Sorry... no we're unable to charge you" And I say "is there an accounting department?" and they say "look, we couldn't charge you even if we wanted to we don't have the systems in place" and then they treat me and I go on my way.

This was in London once, and Scotland twice.

feathermucker Sun 03-Jun-18 06:33:12

The question normally asked is if you have been resident in the U.K. for the past 12 months.

The rules changed in 2015 and ex-pats are no longer automatically entitled to free treatment.

If you maintain a U.K. address and are registered with a G.P. etc, you might 'get away' with it (not that that's right) but checks are quite stringent these days.

You will still receive emergency life-saving treatment, but any treatment subsequent to that would be charged for or you would be expected to pursue receiving it in your home country.

You can still attend a minor injuries unit or receive advice from 111 and will not be charged for this.

Your passport makes no difference as you are not classed as Ordinarily Resident in the U.K.

Pythonesque Sun 03-Jun-18 07:14:10

I believe efforts are being made within the NHS create better systems to actually get payment from non-residents - this includes reciprocal stuff eg EHIC arrangements. Definitely you should be visiting with travel insurance; I think a rule of thumb is intention to stay 6 months or longer. I don't know what the right amount of travel insurance would actually be.

Candyflip Sun 03-Jun-18 07:43:32

Ah, maybe my case is different as I still meet residency requirements for the UK. I agree OP, I don’t think paying tax on a former home counts.

specialsubject Sun 03-Jun-18 12:14:01

you are not covered, you do not live in the uk . passport irrelevant. you arent here paying bills, buying stuff, being economically active.

and anyone leaving their home country needs repatriation insurance, alive or as a corpse. too many dont have it and end up begging on line.

Todamhottoday Sun 03-Jun-18 12:22:50

Get travel insurance which will cover you all, god forbid you had to have air ambulance back to the US or worse.

TroubledLichen Sun 03-Jun-18 15:51:48

We’re in exactly the same situation; live in the US but pay UK taxes as we rent out our house.

Yes you need insurance. For our latest trip back to the UK and France we’ve taken our a stand alone medical policy for $71 for 2 adults and a baby with AIG that covers up to $50,000 worth of medical expenses/unlimited evacuation, found it on
(we don’t need insurance for our flights as they’re booked by DH’s work so we’re covered by their insurance)

tribpot Sun 03-Jun-18 16:05:39

A&E treatment is exempt from charges for overseas visitors which may explain your experience, crayola. However, all hospitals have an Overseas Visitor Manager (in England, not sure about Scotland) for recovering costs. I was in A&E in Guy's Hospital a few years ago and they were definitely trying to figure out who might need to pay if they were admitted.

Want2bSupermum Mon 04-Jun-18 00:24:00

We have expat insurance as part of our package. It's very affordable for DHs employer and covers us for so many things, including copays and medical treatment. The limit is $250k a year outside of resident country and unlimited within our resident country (USA). It doesn't cover pre-existing conditions hence our DC are fully covered for all doctor mandated therapy treatments.

DH said it's with chartis.

Want2bSupermum Mon 04-Jun-18 00:24:55

Apparently the premium $1500 a year. Even if it's per family member they are making no money from us!!!!

NotMoreFootball Mon 04-Jun-18 20:56:27

Check your US health insurance policy before buying any additional policy, ours includes worldwide treatment as standard.

QueenCity Wed 06-Jun-18 03:31:11

Yes, as PP says our health insurance here covers us for overseas trips. I'm not sure if it covers us for repatriation to the US though.

Kursk Wed 06-Jun-18 04:01:09

It is based on residency. But if you still look and sound British you won’t have a problem using the NHS.

I am also a Brit in the US I used A&E on a visit back and was not challenged.

J4nice Wed 06-Jun-18 04:06:26

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

vinegarqueen Wed 06-Jun-18 13:53:30

We are in the same position after years of paying national insurance/tax, as it counts for nothing if you haven't been resident in the past six months. Get travel insurance - it's not worth the risk of a hospital bill that could run into the price of a house deposit.

juneau Wed 06-Jun-18 13:56:41

You need travel insurance for the whole family - including yourselves. The NHS is now very strict about 'health tourism' and if you aren't ordinarily resident here and cannot provide proof of address and aren't registered with a UK doctor then they'll know that you live overseas. I can't remember who we used to be insured with when we lived in the US, but we always had full and comprehensive, multi-trip insurance that covered us worldwide. It shouldn't be that expensive - our family policy here in the UK is about £120 a year for all four of us.

Semster Thu 07-Jun-18 02:09:23

Last time we visited the UK we had to call 111 for DD, and they were very easily able to see that we had not been registered with a UK doctor for several years and were not residents.

As it turned out she didn't need medical treatment, but they were very clear that if she did need treatment we would have to pay.

Our US medical insurance (Anthem) covers us abroad but treats it as out of network.

I bought a GeoBlue policy to cover the deductible ($12k for us out of network) and cover medical repatriation.

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