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When taking a couple months of unpaid sabbatical in the UK, the employer will usually drop all benefits until the employee is back. Quite certain this policy would cut the national health insurance payments too.

What are the options to maintain cover by health insurance during the sabbatical ? Not asking about the private health insurance, but the one that allows access to NHS services.

Some context: say the sabbatical is for world travel. But there would be a couple weeks in total, in between travel, to be spent in the UK. Would a travel insurance policy cover health costs in the UK too ?

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    Will you remain Ordinarily Resident in the UK during the sabbatical? NHS services are based on residence, not employment. – Patricia Shanahan Jul 11 at 9:24
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    @Rup employers pay National Insurance contributions for employees which is likely what the OP is referring to - the amount varies depending on the employee's wage. As Patricia says though it's not something that affects access to NHS services. – motosubatsu Jul 11 at 9:55
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    @RazvanZoitanu the NHS is mostly paid for using our income tax. some is paid for by national insurace but that money is mostly used for unemployment benefits and state pensions. if you are a uk resident then you have free access to the NHS job or not – Woodie 2714 Jul 11 at 10:28
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    Are you a British citizen? If not, do you have indefinite leave to remain? – Patricia Shanahan Jul 11 at 13:10
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    @PatriciaShanahan: Thanks for explaining how NHS eligibility works. I took the liberty of expanding your comment into an answer; hope you don't mind :-). – sleske Jul 12 at 6:44
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When taking a couple months of unpaid sabbatical in the UK, the employer will usually drop all benefits until the employee is back. Quite certain this policy would cut the national health insurance payments too.

What are the options to maintain cover by health insurance during the sabbatical ? Not asking about the private health insurance, but the one that allows access to NHS services.

It seems you are misunderstanding how access to the NHS works. Yes, your employer will pay money to the NHS on your behalf (payments to National Insurance). However, these payments, despite the name, are not like traditional insurance premiums - instead, they are more like a tax.

In particular, as Patricia Shanahan explained in a comment:

Access to NHS care is based on residency in the UK, not on paying contributions.

So it does not matter that your employer will no longer pay National Insurance for you, you are still eligible for NHS care.

Would a travel insurance policy cover health costs in the UK too ?

No, travel insurance typically only covers treatment during travel (that's why it's usually less expensive than regular health insurance). Additionally, it often excludes health problems that existed before the travel, so if you fall ill, you cannot travel just to be covered. Read the policy for details.

At any rate, you do not need cover from your travel insurance when you are in the UK, as you are covered by the NHS, as explained above.

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The NHS is largely funded from taxes, including employment related taxes, but it is not an employment-related insurance system. It is a service, primarily for UK residents.

There are complications such as fee-for-service for some services to visitors. Some visa types require a contribution to the NHS.

The simplest case, and the one that seems to apply here, is that anyone who is Ordinarily Resident in the UK is covered. The OP has been living in the UK, and plans to travel outside the UK during a two month period while keeping their main home in the UK.

The OP will need travel insurance for the time outside the UK.

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You don’t want a travel insurance for coverage in your home country. Uk coverage should be worked out with nhs.

In a travel insurance policy look at coverage that will get you back home. If it’s serious that’s where you want to be. Air ambulance is very expensive.

Your travel insurance may offer coverage to reimburse your unused hotel and airfare. In my opinion his is not as important and usually with lots of caveats.

I’d stick to air ambulance and catastrophic medical only for travel.

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