With the UK set to leave the EU on 29th March, Compare Cover warns that the precarious future of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will leave UK travellers without the reciprocal healthcare safety net that the scheme offers to UK holidaymakers.
Simon Williams, Travel Insurance Product Manager at Compare Cover, said: “Holidaymakers planning to travel to Europe need to be properly prepared for what may come post-March 2019 and during the transition period, as there is still likely to be a lot of uncertainty. Deal or no deal, there still has to be something legally binding in these transition arrangements that confirms that the current reciprocal rights are protected – although both the UK Government and the EU has stated in Joint Report that they intend to keep the rights – there is no guarantee at the moment.”
The UK Government stated in its July 2018 Brexit whitepaper that it wanted to keep the benefits of the EHIC in place post-Brexit, but that in the absence of an agreement being reached, these rights would immediately cease.
“That leaves a lot of people unprotected if they fall ill abroad, have no insurance and have no provision for emergency treatment through the EHIC scheme,” Williams commented. “For elderly travellers or those with pre-existing conditions, it might even mean that they won’t be protected at all if they travel as they won’t be covered by the EHIC, which offers cover for some pre-existing medical conditions.”