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US Health system, coming back to the UK?

US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Old May 6th 2005, 6:48 pm
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Default US Health system, coming back to the UK?

So my Fiancee called me today, and told me her doctor has said she has to have a CAT scan on her stomach and then a possible operation to fix a hernia (she has a history of hernias).

We were talking, and I asked her when she was going to get the operation done and she said that it probably wouldn't be for a while. I asked "why not?" The answer was, "well I can't afford it right now".

Jesus Christ. It was all I could do not to go bloody crazy. I just can't comprehend a system that makes you pay for an important operation. And if you can't afford it, then it is tough. Her insurance doesn't cover it (suprise suprise), and her Doctor has told her that she should get this done ASAP.

Anyway, I will be living in this country of no public health system in just over a month, so my question is this:

If in the future my wife was sick and we couldn't afford to get the operation done in the States, could I bring her back to the UK to get it done? I don't know how it works, but what if we go to the UK embassy in the USA after we get married to get her, I don't know, residency in the UK? Citizenship of the UK?

I am hoping we will never be in that position, but I wanted to know if in an emergency I can bring her back to the UK and have her taken care of.

Can anyone give a fairly comprehensive answer on this?

Thanks in advance.

Matt

PS - I am trying to figure out a way of paying for her operation in the mean time.
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Old May 6th 2005, 6:55 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

You have to be a resident of the UK to get NHS care, i.e. not necessarily a citizen and expats aren't allowed to get it either.

I'm sure there are others who have all kinds of links to webpages for this topic!

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Old May 6th 2005, 7:00 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Sorry to hear that Matt - hope you can somehow get it sorted.

As for your questions, I'm sure someone else will be along shortly to put you right, but as far as I know just through reading on these boards etc, the only way your fiancee/wife could get it fixed on the NHS in the UK would be if you both lived and worked there.

A short time ago in the press and on the news, much was made about "health tourists" etc, and it seemed to be there was/is a bit of a clampdown going on not only for people coming from other countries but also British expats too.

The healthcare system is imho probably the biggest letdown you face in the US. The whole country is run on insurances. It is largely fine if at least one partner works for a big corporate firm - healthcare costs are low and the coverage is good. If you should choose to be self employed or work in a much smaller organization, people have to either pay quite a hefty amount or risk not being covered, if at all.

Sorry to be the bringer of bad news, if I'm wrong someone please correct me, but I think I've seen similar posts before.
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Old May 6th 2005, 7:10 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by ukmancoll

If in the future my wife was sick and we couldn't afford to get the operation done in the States, could I bring her back to the UK to get it done? I don't know how it works, but what if we go to the UK embassy in the USA after we get married to get her, I don't know, residency in the UK? Citizenship of the UK?
.
Ethically and morally no.

but it does happen.

I am dead against people doing it. It is health toruism at it's worst. However, if it were my wife. we'd be on a 747 into Heathrow.
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Old May 6th 2005, 7:39 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Sorry to hear about your plight, sounds like she doesn't have very good insurance, is it a deductable amount or the entire cost of an operation?
Anyway, I thought hernia operations were quite common and would be covered by even a bare bones policy.

It scares me to think about having to jump on a plane and fly back to use the NHS although I have thought about the concept many times. Health care here pi**es a lot of people off who have been used to not worrying about the cost.
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Old May 6th 2005, 7:44 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by Dan725
The healthcare system is imho probably the biggest letdown you face in the US. The whole country is run on insurances. It is largely fine if at least one partner works for a big corporate firm - healthcare costs are low and the coverage is good. If you should choose to be self employed or work in a much smaller organization, people have to either pay quite a hefty amount or risk not being covered, if at all.
It's definitely something you have to keep in mind here that you might not have to keep in mind in other countries. As an American, it's just something I take for granted (like saving money for my kids' college education).

It may seem obvious to people here, but in the US, benefits like health insurance are seen as a key piece of compensation and a deciding factor in accepting any job. In general, people are very careful to ensure they have good coverage prior to beginning work. Companies are generally very up front about it as well. Ex-pats and immigrants might not know that ensuring coverage is absolutely essential and wind up with enormous insurance bills.
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Old May 6th 2005, 7:57 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

I wouldn't count on being able to get free healthcare in the UK if you don't live there if I were you.

My brother in law is a GP and my sister works for the NHS in Surrey. They tell me that the NHS are now clamping firmly down and trying to ensure that only UK residents get free UK healthcare.

I still pay tax in the UK on rental properties and despite that, I could not get free healthcare as I don't live there.

The problem with the US insurance system is that 30% of the premiums paid are spent on paperwork, and of course you are putting your healthcare at the mercy of companies who want to avoid paying out and want to make a large profit for the shareholders.

Bill Clinton was defeated in 1994 with his proposed healthcare for all under the Health Security Act, and quite frankly I think that was it for any chance of a national health system here.

I think the situation is going to get worse because the premiums will become unaffordable and you will either get Medicaid if you earn jointly less than $16000 pa, or if you are mega rich it won't matter. Everybody in the middle, well you are basically f****d.

I think without doubt that this single issue will cause many people to return to Europe as retirement approaches. Shame!

Martin
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by mrcusa
I wouldn't count on being able to get free healthcare in the UK if you don't live there if I were you.

My brother in law is a GP and my sister works for the NHS in Surrey. They tell me that the NHS are now clamping firmly down and trying to ensure that only UK residents get free UK healthcare.
I don't believe this is as true as you would be believed.

Many NHS employees have an passionate hatred for private sector healthcare (especially in the USA) and would rather treat a few people whom are unentitled than not treat people whom possibly could be entitled.

rules are rules I know, but enforcing them is a different matter
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:06 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by Manc
I don't believe this is as true as you would be believed.

Many NHS employees have an passionate hatred for private sector healthcare (especially in the USA) and would rather treat a few people whom are unentitled than not treat people whom possibly could be entitled.

rules are rules I know, but enforcing them is a different matter
unless a lot has changed since i left the uk and worked in the nhs. no one would know if you are a resident or not. as patients are never asked there residency status.

Last edited by candy wy.; May 6th 2005 at 8:19 pm.
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:07 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by Manc
I don't believe this is as true as you would be believed.

Many NHS employees have an passionate hatred for private sector healthcare (especially in the USA) and would rather treat a few people whom are unentitled than not treat people whom possibly could be entitled.

rules are rules I know, but enforcing them is a different matter

Well, you can gamble on anything is this life, the choice is yours.

I am just telling you that close relations of mine who work in the NHS have told me clearly about the clampdown.

It is also quite clear on the NHS website that you are not entitled to free healthcare if you are not resident in the UK.

Question is, how many NHS employees have the power to override the clear instructions that have been issued and well publicised, and are going to let you off without paying?
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:11 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by mrcusa
It is also quite clear on the NHS website that you are not entitled to free healthcare if you are not resident in the UK.
They are also not going to let a British Citizen or Spouse bleed to death in the lobby of Casualty.
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by mrcusa
Well, you can gamble on anything is this life, the choice is yours.

I am just telling you that close relations of mine who work in the NHS have told me clearly about the clampdown.

It is also quite clear on the NHS website that you are not entitled to free healthcare if you are not resident in the UK.

Question is, how many NHS employees have the power to override the clear instructions that have been issued and well publicised, and are going to let you off without paying?
This seems like a logical step for the NHS to take and enforce.
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:14 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Makes me wonder how much the NHS would charge for example to stitch a cut on your leg in comparison to the US
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:16 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by mrcusa
Well, you can gamble on anything is this life, the choice is yours.

I am just telling you that close relations of mine who work in the NHS have told me clearly about the clampdown.

It is also quite clear on the NHS website that you are not entitled to free healthcare if you are not resident in the UK.

Question is, how many NHS employees have the power to override the clear instructions that have been issued and well publicised, and are going to let you off without paying?
I'm sure there is a "clampdown".

Both my mother and brother work in the NHS and I know they'll give anyone treatment even if they know you're not a UK resident. I just don't think NHS staff give a s**t.
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Old May 6th 2005, 8:16 pm
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Default Re: US Health system, coming back to the UK?

Originally Posted by cabritpop
Makes me wonder how much the NHS would charge for example to stitch a cut on your leg in comparison to the US
It makes me wonder how much it would cost to realistically enforce the NHS treating non resident UK citizen expats.

especially as they turn up with a valid NI number / british accent / residential address.
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