There’s a lots of confusion, not only about the impact of Brexit on travel insurance for UK citizens travelling in Europe, but also what the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) covers.
Let us clarify the EHIC card first and exactly what it covers:
- It covers medical treatment that becomes necessary during your stay as a result of illness or an accident.
- It provides access to reduced prices or free medical treatment from state healthcare provider in the country you’re in.
- It allows you to be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are visiting. This means in some countries you may have to pay a patient contribution as that is standard practice in the country. You may be able to seek reimbursement for this when you are back in the UK if you are not able to do so in the other country. However, this would be limited to the equivalent cost on the NHS, which could in some cases be considerably different to the cost in the country you visited.
- It includes treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your trip.
- It includes routine maternity care, as long as the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.
- It includes the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care.
What isn’t covered?
- It would not cover costs that could be incurred such as ambulance charges, additional travel and accommodation charges.
- It does not cover repatriation to the UK.
- It offers no protection against delayed flights, stolen luggage or lost items.
- It does not cover the costs of private healthcare or services that are not part of the country’s state healthcare system.
- It will not allow you to go abroad to specifically receive treatment (including going abroad to give birth).
- The card may not be used in some regions, as there may be no state provided healthcare available.
So, you can see that the EHIC is not a valid alternative to travel insurance.
It is therefore advisable that you have your own travel insurance policy on top of the EHIC to ensure you are fully covered and avoid unnecessary costs.
Our travel insurance policies
Our travel insurance policies are flexible and tailored to fit the requirements of you, your family or colleagues. We take the time to discuss specific aspects such as:
- Do you want the policy for a single trip or several trips during the course of 12 months?
- Where is the cover for, is it just Europe or do you want worldwide cover?
- What happens if members of the same family who have one policy are travelling at the same time to different places?
- Is the country you are going to deemed as “high risk”? In which case what are the implications of this?
- If your trip is longer than the standard maximum period, will it be covered?
- What if the policy is for someone who has recently suffered a serious illness?
All of these questions can be answered by our knowledgeable and experienced team who will guide you to ensure you are fully protected and your policy is the right one for you.
Call our expert advisers now on 01772 585085 who will talk through your needs and find a competitive policy for you.
What happens post Brexit?
It’s difficult to know what decision or compromise the UK and the EU will come to at this stage over the EHIC.
Reciprocal agreements that give both British and European travellers access to affordable medical treatment in emergency situations will clearly be beneficial for both parties in a post-Brexit world.
In reality it is doubtful that either the UK or the EU would want to undo the EHIC scheme completely. They could reach a compromise that would allow the UK to remain part of the European Economic Area (EEA). For example, existing EEA states which are not EU members like Norway and Iceland are still part of the EHIC scheme.
We’ll be keeping you updated as negotiations progress so you are clear on what is and what isn’t covered.
Please don’t hesitate to call us in the meantime on 01772 585085 if you have any questions.