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Brexit: What will happen to European Health Insurance Cards?

Michaela Sheehan
Image caption Michaela Sheehan, who has epilepsy, takes her European Health Insurance Card on vacation to Europe

European Health Insurance Cards let UK residents get medical care at no cost, or at a decreased value, in 31 nations.

But if the UK leaves the European Union and not using a deal, that will not be the case.

The authorities has requested all 31 nations to maintain EHICs in use till 31 December 2020, it doesn’t matter what occurs with Brexit.

But solely three have agreed to cowl UK vacationers if there isn’t any deal.

The UK’s largest journey insurance coverage supplier is warning that this could imply costs will go up, particularly for folks with well being issues.

Michaela Sheehan at all times takes her EHIC on vacation to Europe.

The 24-year-old, from Woking, has epilepsy.

Image copyright EHIC

Her first seizure occurred when she was a youngster on a faculty journey to France.

She remembers queuing for a experience at Disneyland Paris.

The subsequent factor she knew, she wakened in a French hospital.

She had been rushed there in an ambulance and had emergency therapy.

She explains: “It was all completely free, because of my EHIC card.”

Earlier this 12 months she went to Majorca with a bunch of associates.

Her well being situation meant that at £60, her insurance coverage for only one week was thrice dearer than her boyfriend’s annual coverage.

Deal or no deal

The EHIC scheme covers the EU nations in addition to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

British folks get about £150m price of therapy a 12 months, utilizing the EHIC scheme.

It can be utilized for sudden medical emergencies, in addition to pre-existing situations.

The authorities has made it very clear that it needs EHIC to proceed, deal or no deal.

But thus far, solely Spain has agreed to that.

Portugal says it will not keep it up with the scheme if there’s a no-deal Brexit. But it has handed a legislation saying that UK vacationers can nonetheless get healthcare as earlier than, for now, in the event that they present their passport.

There is an analogous settlement with Ireland, too.

But that leaves 28 nations.

If British folks want medical assist in any of them, after a no-deal Brexit, they will both want to pay or depend on journey insurance coverage.

Image copyright Getty Images

The authorities says it’s nonetheless attempting to type extra healthcare offers.

But a spokesperson factors out it “always advises UK citizens to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations. This remains our advice”.

The Association of British Insurers says that if EHICs largely disappears in a no-deal Brexit “insurers will inevitably see an increase in claims costs – this could have a direct impact on the prices charged to consumers”.

Axa Insurance’s journey director, Nel Mooy, agrees: “If nothing changes between now and 31 October and there was no deal, then I’m expecting prices to go up.”

She says there are “too many unknowns” to predict how a lot costs may go up by however factors out that journey insurance coverage usually just isn’t all that costly.

She provides: “People who are not well at all already have a higher premium and therefore anything extra, I can totally appreciate that anything more, might be more difficult for them to afford.”

This tallies with the federal government’s personal evaluation of an inexpensive worst case state of affairs for a no-deal Brexit.

Advice for journey insurance coverage after a no-deal Brexit

•If you’ve a long-term well being downside, strive to discover journey insurance coverage earlier than you e book

•See in case your checking account offers you journey insurance coverage at no cost

•You would possibly want to store round with specialist suppliers

•Give insurers as a lot info as attainable about the place you’re going to

•Annual insurance policies may work out dearer than shorter cowl

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