NHS in the UK to Charge International Students

nhs-charge-international-studentsOver this past week, Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary for the British Government has unveiled sweeping plans that could change the way international students interact and access the UK’s National Healthcare System, otherwise known as the NHS.

So why is the NHS in the UK to Charge International Students? Although hailed around the world as a prime example of nationalised healthcare, the British NHS does come under fire for long wait times to access medical care, and it is suffering from budget cuts. To combat this the health secretary has come up with new plans, amongst them the ones that will directly impact international students are:

  • Restricting free healthcare for those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • £200 per year fee for international students (unless they have private medical insurance)
  • Improving how short term non-EEA are charged for services
  • Improving the way charges are collected

Currently, if you are a short term visitor from outside the EEA, you should be charged for access to the NHS, but in theory this does not happen. This includes short term students studying courses such as English as a Second Language, so most likely these students will be impacted. The £200 fee per year for international students could also likely rise, and will be added to students visa application fees – unless they can show proof of private medical insurance.

The message appears to be clear from the British Government, they will be changing the way international students access healthcare in the UK so the best course of action would be to make sure you have an adequate private medical insurance plan. Not only will it provide many added services that the NHS does not provide, but you will be able to jump any wait times if you need medical care with private medical insurance. To learn more about UK International Student Insurance coverage for the UK, please visit our dedicated section for more information.

Posted by Ross Mason

Ross is the Vice President of International Student Insurance, with over 15 years experience in the international education arena. A graduate from the Nottingham Trent University in the UK with a First in BSc (Hons) Business and Technology, Ross has lived all around the world including LA, New York, Boston, London, Hong Kong, Florida and Germany.

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