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Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Old Jul 20th 2011, 7:26 pm
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Default Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

I guess this is a stupid question, but will we still be eligible for free emergency and GP treatment during our visit to the UK?
We were all born there and have NHS numbers.

Would the NHS ask for reimbursement from our US health insurance should we need medical treatment ?
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 8:08 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

I have wondered just the same thing. I actually needed to get a prescription filled as i left meds at home in the US and i managed to get an urgent NHS appointment and i saw the doc, got the scrip and had it filled at boots with no issue. I always thought even if a non-resident as a citizen you are entitled to NHS care.
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 8:15 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

If you aren't resident in the UK, you are only entitled to emergency treatment.

So no, you can't go get a prescription filled, nor see your GP for a check up.

Chances are slim that they will send you a bill for treatment, but they are working on stopping the whole NHS tourist so you might not be so lucky.

Get holiday insurance, or check that your medical insurance in the US will cover a holiday, some will, some won't and some credit cards might offer cover too.

What would you do if you got involved in a serious accident and needed to be medivac'ed to the US? The NHS wouldn't cover that and it would cost a huge fortune.
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 8:16 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by freddie_freeloader View Post
I always thought even if a non-resident as a citizen you are entitled to NHS care.
You would be wrong, it's got nothing to do with citizenship but where you are normally resident.

You got lucky, but it isn't something you should count on.
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 8:41 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Ok thanks for the info. I've just checked with my medical cover and they say I'm covered for emergency care overseas with the usual co-pay and percentages. But they won't pay for emergency medical evacuation.
Perhaps I'll go and look into travel insurance, unless my Amex Card has some built in.
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
You would be wrong, it's got nothing to do with citizenship but where you are normally resident.

You got lucky, but it isn't something you should count on.
You don't have to be particularly lucky if you have a British accent in my experience. I even offered to pay for my non-emergency appointment and was declined. And once you have a prescription I don't think there's any system in place for chemists to charge you anything more than the standard prescription charge.

Having said all that, I really think the NHS should get its act together and start charging non-residents for non-emergency treatment on a consistent basis. It seems a very poor use of UK taxpayers money to be paying for this.
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Old Jul 20th 2011, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

My wife is a US citizen who was living in the UK for a year and she could always get meds, she just had to go to A&E because she couldn't get a GP. She never got charged anything, that was about 2 years ago.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 12:15 am
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
You don't have to be particularly lucky if you have a British accent in my experience. I even offered to pay for my non-emergency appointment and was declined. And once you have a prescription I don't think there's any system in place for chemists to charge you anything more than the standard prescription charge.

Having said all that, I really think the NHS should get its act together and start charging non-residents for non-emergency treatment on a consistent basis. It seems a very poor use of UK taxpayers money to be paying for this.
It's only been in the last year that they're really made a crack down though. It was supposedly on the doctors discretion before, but seems less and less likely these days where they're a bit strapped for cash.

Probably get away with it seeing your old GP if you've been seeing them for years, but less likely if you've hardly ever seen them.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 12:54 am
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Any visitor to the UK is entitled to free emergency treatment. According to the NHS anything else is entirely at the discretion of the doctor/clinic. You could be lucky especially if you have a British accent...on the other hand they may hand you a bill.

Our US healthcare insurance covers us for trips overseas.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 6:44 am
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Ours is not the best health insurance in the US but we are also covered with it when travelling abroad.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 12:38 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
You don't have to be particularly lucky if you have a British accent in my experience. I even offered to pay for my non-emergency appointment and was declined.
That's fair enough - you offered and they declined.

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
And once you have a prescription I don't think there's any system in place for chemists to charge you anything more than the standard prescription charge.
An NHS prescription gets you NHS prices (£7.40/item or free, mostly). A private doctor, for example, would give you a prescription on a different piece of paper and you'd be charged full whack for that by the chemist/pharmacy.

Originally Posted by Ja5on View Post
My wife is a US citizen who was living in the UK for a year and she could always get meds, she just had to go to A&E because she couldn't get a GP. She never got charged anything, that was about 2 years ago.
If she was living there for (I think) 3 months or more then she was entitled to free treatment anyway.

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
Any visitor to the UK is entitled to free emergency treatment. According to the NHS anything else is entirely at the discretion of the doctor/clinic. You could be lucky especially if you have a British accent...on the other hand they may hand you a bill.
This is probably not what you meant , but I don't like the suggestion that a British accent would get you free treatment as it implies that the recipient was not honest up front. If the recipient told them he/she was not a resident of the UK then it doesn't matter what the accent is so the comment about accent is irrelevant.

After all, why should part of my pay packet go towards treating those who conveniently forget to offer pertinent information? Is it fraud/deception/misrepresentation/theft? (I don't know). If, as in Giantaxe's case, payment was declined then at least you've been honest as the ball is in the NHS's court.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 12:46 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post
This is probably not what you meant , but I don't like the suggestion that a British accent would get you free treatment as it implies that the recipient was not honest up front. If the recipient told them he/she was not a resident of the UK then it doesn't matter what the accent is so the comment about accent is irrelevant.

After all, why should part of my pay packet go towards treating those who conveniently forget to offer pertinent information? Is it fraud/deception/misrepresentation/theft? (I don't know). If, as in Giantaxe's case, payment was declined then at least you've been honest as the ball is in the NHS's court.
I meant that having a British accent the doctor/clinic/hospital would presume you were British and therefore assume that you were a UK resident. Even if you are not a resident...whether they charge you or not is entirely down to the discretion of the doctor/clinic/hospital...unless it's an emergency.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Whenever I went to my local A&E they always asked for my name, address, and GP clinic. Dunno what they would have said if I had not had those things.

I believe any visa holder whose visa allows a stay longer than six months is eligible for NHS treatment. I know that students who are on three-to-six month exchange programs to the UK are not eligible - at least, that's what I read in 2005.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 5:12 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by Jerseygirl View Post
I meant that having a British accent the doctor/clinic/hospital would presume you were British and therefore assume that you were a UK resident. Even if you are not a resident...whether they charge you or not is entirely down to the discretion of the doctor/clinic/hospital...unless it's an emergency.
But you would not let them carry on with that assumption, would you? You would tell them the truth, right? As I said, what they do with the information is up to them. Holding on to that information is not right in my book.
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Old Jul 21st 2011, 5:22 pm
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Default Re: Visiting UK do we need medical insurance?

Originally Posted by GeoffM View Post
But you would not let them carry on with that assumption, would you? You would tell them the truth, right? As I said, what they do with the information is up to them. Holding on to that information is not right in my book.
I wouldn't...my US healthcare insurance covers me in the UK.
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