What insurance in England?

Since zero risk does not exist, it is normal to wonder about the protections necessary for an expatriation or a trip to England. In 2023, the English social protection system is quite efficient, and the insurance sector is particularly developed. You will in principle be very well covered. But you still need to know the specifics of Britain! What is the current health system? Should I take out special health insurance? How does retirement work in England? What precaution to take for road-trip? Our complete guide!

How does the English health system work?

In the United Kingdom, public services are provided by the NHS (National Health Service) of each country. Indeed, this service was decentralized in 1999: thus, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland each manage their own NHS and apply their own reforms. We can compare the NHS to our French Social Security, in that it allows free access to care.

Let’s focus here on the NHS operating in England: anyone residing there for more than 6 months can benefit from this service, in the same way as English people. On the other hand, its membership is not automatic: it is up to each resident to register with an NHS medical practice in order to then be able to consult and receive care free of charge. Third-party payment is widely practiced there.

One of the peculiarities of the English public health system is the central role played by the general practitioner: it is necessary to consult him in order to be able to obtain an appointment with a specialist. The general practitioner must judge your need to consult a specialist, the aim being to control public expenditure and to consult specialists only if the need is real. A major drawback stands out: the length of the waiting lists. In addition, prescribed drugs are generally chargeable (about 9 pounds sterling), with some exceptions (contraceptive pills, pregnant women or elderly people, etc.).

The cover provided by the NHS can be supplemented by private health insurance, called Private Medical Insurance (or Private Health Insurance). Care not covered by the NHS may then be covered, depending on the protection you choose. Overall, you will also be taken care of more quickly. You can consider the following private companies: Aviva, Bupa, Axa PPP, etc.