Oct 27, 2021 / TRAVEL

Accessing healthcare in the EU post-Brexit

When buying your ski home, whether for holidays or to move there permanently, it’s important to know how to access healthcare. For those from the UK, things have changed since Brexit and the rules and regulations can be confusing. Here are some points you should consider.


Reciprocal healthcare is continuing, meaning that there is a healthcare agreement in place between the UK and the EU. So, if buying in a ski destination such as France or Italy, you can still use your EHIC or GHIC card when you’re there. Both are valid until they expire and once your EHIC expires, you can apply for a GHIC.

It’s important to remember, however, that these cards are generally used for ‘necessary care’, such as emergencies, and should be supplemented with full health or travel insurance. If you are moving permanently, you shouldn’t rely on your card for healthcare and should register with the healthcare system.

GHICs and most UK EHICs are not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, so make sure you take out travel insurance for your ski trip.

A rare opportunity due to the quality of the apartment and the location in a very popular residence, close to the Grands Montets ski area.

Can I access free healthcare in the EU?


In France, the state will typically only cover a portion of your healthcare costs – on average, 70%. The remaining portion would be paid by you or by your ‘top-up’ insurance, which is usually inexpensive.

It can take up to 6 months to register onto the French healthcare system, so do ensure that you are prepared for this. There are different ways to enter the system depending on whether you work in France, are retired or are unemployed.

If you are retired, you can apply using an S1 form, which entitles you to UK funded healthcare in France. If you are working in France, you can apply for healthcare as soon as you start working. If you are unemployed, you will need to be resident in France for at least 3 months before applying.


If you are employed or self-employed in Italy, you can access the Italian healthcare system for free. Your dependents will also have access.

If you’re unemployed, you can access the healthcare system by paying an annual fee.

For those who are retired, the system works very similarly to France. You can access the Italian healthcare system using an S1 form, which entitles you to UK funded state healthcare.

Large, newly built 3 bedroom apartment for sale at Canazei, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy.


The S1 form is also valid in Switzerland, so you can also access UK funded healthcare there if you are claiming your UK pension.

However, for most others, get health insurance is needed in Switzerland. You will need to choose your insurance provider from a list of government-approved providers. Insurance costs can vary, and you may need to pay some fees on top of your insurance, such as a daily fee for staying in a hospital.

If I move to my ski home permanently, can I still access the UK’s NHS?

The NHS is a resident-based system, so you need to be ordinarily resident to access its services. If you move to your ski home permanently, you won’t have access to the full NHS. You should, therefore, take out travel insurance if you are going back to the UK temporarily. You may also be issued with an EHIC from your new home country, which can be used in the UK.

Large, newly built 3 bedroom apartment for sale at Canazei, Dolomites, South Tyrol, Italy

Start looking for your ski property today

To get the process of buying your ski property underway, why not take a look at our handy ski property buying guides? They lay out the buying journey step by step to make the process as smooth and hassle-free as possible.