Accordingly, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Provisional Replacement Certificates (PEB) may be used in the future. Furthermore, the reckoning of insurance periods will remain possible. However, full access to the United Kingdom healthcare system may involve additional costs. The scenarios and questions regarding health and long-term care insurance for British citizens living in Hamburg may be very diverse. For specific questions we therefore recommend contacting the respective health insurance company directly.
Background: Health and long-term care insurance
The Protocol on Social Security Coordination is not congruent with the abovementioned European regulations in its scope of application. For example, long-term care insurance is not covered by the Protocol. In order to avoid contractual gaps, the German legislation passed a law containing regulations on the coordination of social security (i.e., health, long-term care, accident, pension and unemployment insurance), which was promulgated in the Federal Law Gazette on 11 April 2019. This law will prevent undue hardship caused by the discontinuation of European Union law and will create short-term legal certainty with regard to insurance status, entitlements and benefits.
Additionally, British citizens residing in Germany who are currently covered by the NHS are eligible to join the statutory health insurance scheme in Germany as voluntary members. Membership must be declared in writing within three months of the date of leaving to a health insurance fund that can be selected at the place of residence and employment, and applies retroactively from the day after leaving. In order to ensure that health insurance coverage can be provided by the statutory health insurance fund in a timely manner, it is recommended to declare entry as early as possible. This also prevents patients from receiving a private bill from their doctor in the event of treatment because they were unable to provide proof of health insurance coverage with a statutory health insurance fund at the time of treatment. After the three-month accession period has expired, the right of access to statutory health insurance is no longer guaranteed. In these cases, private health insurance coverage may be considered under certain circumstances. However, the obligation to maintain insurance cover may cease if British citizens stay abroad for an extended period after 1 January 2021.
For cross-border services in the event of illness, the previous provisions will generally continue to apply from 1 January 2021. Benefits in the event of need for long-term care, on the other hand, are not covered. European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) and Provisional Replacement Certificates (PEBs) issued by German health insurers can be used in the previous format for temporary stays in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2021. EHICs and PEBs issued by the United Kingdom carrier may also be used for temporary stays in member states from 1 January 2021.
A panel prescription obtained by a british citizen insured by the NHS will also cease to be valid from 1 January 2021. The pharmacy will no longer be able to bill the German health insurer for this prescription. In this case, the patient has to get a private prescription in order to obtain the medication, which consequently must be paid for by the patient. The patient has to settle a possible claim for reimbursement with the health insurance provider responsible in the United Kingdom.