If you are planning a holiday to the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you may be wondering if your E111 Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid if we leave the EU without a Brexit deal on October 31st 2019.
Currently UK residents who have an EHIC card can benefit from local state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free when travelling to member states. However, it’s important to be aware that the provision of state care is different in each country, and tourists should not expect medical assistance free of charge.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal it threatens the validity of the card. For now, the card will stay valid until the official leaving date (31 October 2019), and probably during the transition period (2 years) if there is a deal signed between the UK and the EU. However, if there is no deal, there will be no transition period. Therefore, the card may not be valid after the 31st October 2019
Calling it an ‘insurance card’ can be confusing it is more of a safety net than a substitute for travel insurance. It’s vital people understand the benefits and limitations of the card to avoid being in financial difficulty if they fall seriously ill and have no cover and have to rely on family, friends or crowdfunding to pay for medical bills or an air ambulance to get themselves home When you consider that arranging your own travel insurance policy can cost less than a few cups of coffee is the financial risk really worth it?
It important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy (see www.fishinsurance.co.uk ) Some insurers insist you hold an ECIH card, and many will waive the excess if you have one. if your holiday dates coincided with a possible exit from the EU check any insurance policies you may have taken out earlier to see if your cover could be affected
It is also important to check specific information relating to healthcare in the country you are travelling to and more information can be found at www.nhs.uk
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