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British citizens in Germany

It had previously been assumed that the United Kingdom’s membership would end two years after the declaration of the withdrawal, irrespective of whether or not the country had concluded a withdrawal agreement with the EU. The UK has however now requested an extension of the withdrawal deadline. The European Council has complied with this request, resulting in the following options:

Scenario 1: A withdrawal agreement

The UK can approve the withdrawal agreement until 31 October 2019. The withdrawal agreement may enter into force on an earlier date, should the EU and the UK complete their respective ratification procedures before 31 October 2019. In that case the withdrawal will take place on the first day of the following month.

The withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated between the EU and the United Kingdom provides for a transition period which is to last until 31 December 2020, and the regulations on the coordination of social security systems are to continue to apply during this period (e.g. to tourists, posted workers, pensioners and students). These are Regulations (EC) No 883/2004, (EC) No 987/2009 and (EC) No 859/2003, in conjunction with Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71.

Scenario 2: A disorderly exit (no-deal Brexit)

If the UK is still a Member of the EU on 23-26 May 2019 and if it has not ratified the withdrawal agreement by 22 May 2019, it must hold the elections to the European Parliament in accordance with Union law. If the UK fails to live up to this obligation, the withdrawal will take place on 1 June 2019. This applies also if the UK does not approve the withdrawal agreement until 31 October 2019.

Scenario 3: An extension of the withdrawal deadline

The UK requested an extension of the withdrawal deadline. The European Council has complied with this request, so that the withdrawal period will be extended until 31 October 2019 if the UK does not approve the withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated with the EU before that date.

Scenario 4: Cancellation of Brexit

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the United Kingdom could unilaterally rescind its intention to withdraw from the EU. Brexit could be cancelled in this way until the date on which the United Kingdom’s EU membership comes to an end, provided that no withdrawal agreement has yet come into force.

The European regulations would also continue to apply beyond 12 April 2019 in these three scenarios.

If the European regulations still apply (even if only on a provisional basis), no special arrangements will apply in comparison to the other Member States with regard to taking up benefits in Germany.

Will I be able to use my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) that was issued in the United Kingdom to take up benefits in Germany after 12 April 2019?

You will still be able to claim benefits on the basis of the EHIC or PRC issued in the United Kingdom after 12 April 2019.

I have health insurance coverage via the NHS, live in Germany, and receive benefits and services via a German health insurance fund. I will require medical/dental assistance in Germany beyond 12 April 2019. Will I be able to take up benefits using my electronic health card?

The German health insurance funds have been informed that entitlement documents issued by the NHS and time limited until 29 March 2019 (E 120, E 121, E 106, S1) will remain valid

  • at most until the United Kingdom leaves the EU, or
  • if the withdrawal agreement is approved, until the end of the transitional period that is stipulated in the agreement (31 December 2020).

Entitlement documents that are time limited until 29 March 2019 do not therefore need to be renewed. You can also take up benefits in Germany via your electronic health card beyond this date as before.

The European regulations would no longer be applicable after the withdrawal because no withdrawal agreement has been concluded, no extension of the withdrawal period has been approved, and the United Kingdom has not remained in the EU.

Temporary stay in Germany

  • I will require medical/dental assistance in Germany post-Brexit, and the doctor/dentist refuses to accept my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). Where can I turn?
    In the event of a disorderly Brexit, German contract doctors/contract dentists will be obliged to refuse to accept any EHICs or PRCs from the United Kingdom from the date of withdrawal onwards. Should you require dental or other medical treatment during a temporary stay in Germany after the United Kingdom has left the European Union, the healthcare provider will charge you privately for the costs. Even medicinal products, remedies and medical aids can only be prescribed via a private prescription. It is recommended to retain the invoice in order to be able to verify whether the health insurance institution that is responsible for you in the United Kingdom can reimburse the costs to you.
  • I was given a benefit via a prescription (e.g. a medicinal product), but did not redeem the prescription before Brexit. Can I nonetheless submit it to the healthcare provider afterwards?
    This will not be possible, as the respective prescription is no longer valid from the withdrawal date onwards. The pharmacy, for example, can no longer settle accounts with the German health insurance fund after Brexit. You need to obtain a private prescription in order to be able to claim the benefit, and you will then have to pay for it privately. You will have to check with the health insurance institution responsible for you in the United Kingdom as to whether you are eligible for reimbursement.
  • I require in-patient treatment after Brexit. Can I take up benefits using my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) that was issued in the United Kingdom?
    It will no longer be possible to claim benefits on the basis of an EHIC or PRC issued in the United Kingdom post-Brexit. You will have to pay the hospital costs privately. You will need to check with the health insurance institution responsible for you in the United Kingdom as to whether you are eligible for reimbursement.
  • My in-patient treatment started prior to Brexit/on the day of Brexit on the basis of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) that was issued in the United Kingdom, and ends post-Brexit. How will the costs for the treatment be settled?
    All in-patient benefits provided up to and including the day of withdrawal on the basis of an EHIC or PRC that was issued in the United Kingdom can be settled between the German health insurance fund that you have selected and the NHS. You will be required to pay privately for any costs incurred for treatment that goes beyond Brexit. You will need to check with the health insurance institution responsible for you in the United Kingdom as to whether you are eligible for reimbursement.
  • I am in Germany for planned treatment that has been approved by the NHS via an S2 certificate and which will continue beyond the United Kingdom’s withdrawal. How will the costs for the treatment be settled?
    It will be possible to settle planned treatment between the German health insurance fund that you have selected and the NHS on the basis of an S2 certificate until Brexit takes place. You will be required to pay privately for any costs incurred for treatment that goes beyond Brexit. You will have to check with the health insurance institution responsible for you in the United Kingdom as to whether you are eligible for reimbursement.

Place of residence in Germany

  • I have health insurance cover via the NHS, live in Germany and receive benefits and services via a German health insurance fund. I require medical/dental assistance in Germany beyond 12 April 2019. Will I be able to take advantage of benefits using my electronic health card?
    Your entitlement document issued by the NHS (E 120, E 121, E 106, S1), on the basis of which you receive benefits and services via your German health insurance fund, will no longer be valid once the United Kingdom has left the EU. You will no longer be able to claim benefits using your electronic health card.
    However, you have the option of joining the statutory health insurance system in Germany as a voluntary member. You can take up membership by selecting one of the eligible statutory health insurance funds available at your place of residence or employment within a period of three months from the Brexit date. As a rule, you can therefore also opt into the health insurance fund with which you have previously been registered and which has been providing you with benefits and services.
    Becoming a member enables you to take advantage of all the benefits available to insured persons under statutory health insurance. As a voluntary member, your contributions will be calculated on the basis of your economic capacity, meaning your income and the funds at your disposal that can be used to cover your living expenses. The contributions are however levied at least on a minimum assessment basis. This amount for 2019 is EUR 1,038.33.
    Persons receiving a foreign pension do not receive any contribution subsidies towards German health and long-term care insurance from the foreign pension provider. This means that the contributions are to be paid by the member alone. In order to avoid any disadvantages ensuing for the persons concerned as a result of this, only a statutory health insurance contribution rate of 7.3 percent is levied from the foreign pensions. In addition, health insurance funds can levy a supplementary premium from their members.
  • When does my membership begin if, for example, I do not opt to join a German health insurance fund until two weeks after Brexit?
    In order to obtain insurance cover, the opt-in must be effected within the three-month opt-in period, counting from the date on which the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Membership begins on the day after the United Kingdom leaves the EU. Continuous, comprehensive insurance cover is ensured, which becomes effective within the three-month opt-in period, regardless of the date on which you take up the option to join. Retroactive insurance will therefore be provided back to the day after the United Kingdom left the EU.
  • Would the selected health insurance fund pay the future cost of an illness from which I have suffered prior to this period?
    The entitlement applies to benefits subject to the requirements under German law, i.e. in accordance with Book V of the Social Code (Sozialgesetzbuch).

Questions

The statutory health insurance funds in Germany will answer any questions you may have relating to insurance cover in the event of you falling ill or needing long-term care. You will find an alphabetical list of all statutory health insurance funds in Germany here.