The uncertain future of the EHIC card

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PersonalJanuary 7, 2020

The uncertain future of the EHIC card

European Health Insurance Cards, or EHIC cards, allow UK residents to receive medical care for free when travelling in European countries. Many travellers with pre-existing health conditions rely on EHIC cards to travel safely throughout Europe, without having to worry about funding medical treatment in a foreign country.  By using the EHIC scheme, British travellers get around £150m worth of medical treatment every year.

Leave or remain?

The government has made it clear that, no matter what happens with Brexit, they want EHIC to continue – but so far, only Spain has agreed. Portugal confirmed that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, they no longer want to be part of the scheme. But, they have passed a law that means UK tourists can get healthcare as before if they show their passports; a similar agreement has also been made with Ireland. In all the other 28 countries previously in the scheme, tourists will now need to rely on their Travel Insurance for medical treatment or pay themselves.

Even if there is a Brexit deal agreed, EHIC may not indefinitely continue after the transition period if it’s not drawn into the final agreement.

The rising cost of Travel Insurance

If the EHIC scheme disappears following Brexit, this could put a lot of strain on insurers to fund a significant portion of the £150m that is currently paid under it. The Association of British Insurers say that: “insurers will inevitably see an increase in claims costs – this could have a direct impact on the prices charged to consumers”. While this may inconvenience the average traveller, it could be a significant burden on travellers who are already paying very high premiums due to their existing health conditions.

What can you do?

If you’re concerned about the impact that Brexit will have on your travel insurance, or any other insurances you hold, get in in touch with The Insurance Centre on 01253 810630. We’ll talk you through what you need to look out for and can help you to arrange competitive insurance which takes your individual circumstances into account.