Over 70,000 British pensioners living in Spain may be forced to return to the UK if no deal is reached regarding Brexit.
Currently, British pensioners living in Spain have their health care costs reimbursed by the National Health Service in Britain under an EU-wide set of reciprocal arrangements.
The current arrangement saves the NHS around 450 million a year as healthcare costs in Spain are lower than in The UK. On average Spain charges the UK £2,300 for every pensioner its health service treats compared with £4,500 charged by the NHS.
As things stand at present there is no guarantee that this reciprocal deal will continue under Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposals regarding EU citizens living in the UK and the 1.2 million UK nationals residing in Europe.
Malcolm Buckley, originally from Halifax in Yorkshire, is worried that he might not be able to continue living in Spain is his health care is not covered saying:
“I will have to return to Britain, the healthcare payments are important, without them I can’t afford to live here.”
“We have no idea about what is going on. I feel like I’ve been disenfranchised for 30 years from the UK, the time I’ve lived away.
“I wasn’t even allowed to vote in the referendum. If we don’t get that health care payment lots of us will have to go home.”
Meanwhile despite Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez saying that he wants to secure all rights for British citizens in Spain regardless of what happens health care has not been mentioned in any agreement.