Brexit and its consequences for British pensioners living in France, the S1 problem. Our French Associate Cédric RIVIERE recently wrote this article for his clients.

The European Union and the United Kingdom have agreed a political declaration on their future relationship (“Political declaration setting out the framework for the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom“, Official Journal of the European Union, February 19, 2019 – see here).

In the midst of numerous and various subjects, point 54 is rather reassuring for UK pensioners living in France and benefiting from access to the French social security system through their S1 certificate: “54. The Parties also agree to consider addressing social security coordination in the light of future movement of persons.

Reassuring, isn’t it?

We all know that Brexit may have substantial consequences on the British pensioners situation here in France, and not only for their health care coverage. Indeed, you all know that the S1 certificate issued by the British authorities allows them to be exempted from the 6.6% social contributions (CSG, CRDS, PS) levied on their pensions received from the United Kingdom. And even more with the Financial Act for 2019 (I’ll come back to you about this later).

So, after March 29, 2019, there is two solutions:

  1. A Brexit agreement: (we can still have dreams…)

Health insurance coverage wouldn’t change for S1 holders. The current European social security coordination rules would continue to apply during the transitional period (until December 31,2020). The S1 certificate would still be valid, and Brits pensioners’ health costs in France would therefore be financially covered by the United Kingdom.

  1. Without withdrawal agreement: “No deal”

Although UK pensioners living in France would still be considered as registered to the British social security system, their health care will continue to be taken care of in France under the same conditions during a period of two years after Brexit, in the same conditions as any French insured. This period would be used to allow France/European Union and the United Kingdom to conclude an agreement to continue to ensure the effective financial coverage of their respective insured.

The French Government has already taken steps in this direction by adopting the following provisions (Decree n° 2019-76, February 6, 2019 – article 7):

“I. – The person covered by the United Kingdom health insurance pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament of 29 April 2004 and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament of 16 September 2009 and legally residing in France on the date of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union continues to benefit from the care of health care for itself and its assigns, in the same conditions that an insured person of a compulsory French scheme, until the expiry of the period mentioned in II of this article.

  1. – By way of derogation from Article 1, the benefit of continuity of coverage of health care mentioned in I of this Article is guaranteed for a period of two years from the date of entry into force of this Decree on the conditions prevailing until that date, unless an agreement with the United Kingdom is concluded before that date in order to govern for the future the methods of financial compensation for the expenditure resulting, for each State, from the conditions of care of their respective insureds.

III. – At the expiry of the period mentioned in II of this Article and in the absence of an agreement, the conditions for taking over the health care of the persons covered by the British health insurance referred to in I of the same article shall be reviewed.”

For its part, the European Commission is studying a draft regulation to be voted on next February 26, which provides: “The proposal aims at ensuring that persons who have exercised, as Union citizens, their right to freedom of movement before the withdrawal date maintain their social security entitlements related to facts or events that occurred and periods completed before the withdrawal date.

All these measures should allow British pensioners living in France to retain their rights to social security for a sufficient period of time so that the European Union and the United Kingdom can negotiate lasting agreements…

Avocat au Barreau de Périgueux