Brexit Travel FAQs

  • What is the EHIC?

    An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) gives you access to the same state-provided healthcare available to a resident. You can get it for free from the NHS. However, it is not a substitute for having travel insurance as it will not cover all medical costs, or the cost of emergency repatriation back to the UK. 

  • Will my travel insurance cover me for the healthcare currently under EHIC?

    Travel insurance policies will cover emergency medical treatment costs as standard that could have been reclaimed through the EHIC, although routine treatments, like check-ups and treatments for managing existing conditions, would not be covered.

    Travel insurance policies will also continue to cover emergency medical expenses incurred in countries outside of the European Economic Area (EEA - all EU countries, plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein). 

    Be aware that there is a small number of policies in the market that state they will only provide cover if you have and use an EHIC. Customers in this position should check their policy and contact their insurer. 

  • Will entitlement to state healthcare when visiting an EU country cease immediately if we have not agreed a deal with the EU when the transition period ends in December 2020?

    Yes, although not for those UK travellers in the EU on the day the transition period ends. The UK government has said that in the event of there not being an agreed deal with the EU, they will continue to pay for the state healthcare for anyone travelling in the EU on 31 December until they return to the UK. For anyone travelling or moving to the EU after the end of the transition period, reciprocal health arrangements will cease without a deal to continue EHIC arrangements.

  • Is the Government seeking to agree any reciprocal health agreements with individual EU states if a deal with the EU is not agreed for after the transition period?

    Yes. The Government may be able to agree reciprocal health agreements with individual EU states, just as it already has with other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand. Any agreements may not be known until closer to the end of the transition period. 

  • Will my travel insurance policy become more expensive?

    Claims costs within Europe are currently reduced due to the presence of the EHIC, which covers some or all state-provided medical costs in most EEA countries. In the absence of the EHIC or similar reciprocal health agreement, insurers will inevitably see an increase in claims costs – this could have a direct impact on the prices charged to consumers. This will vary depending on the provider. 

  • Will insurers be changing their terms and conditions to accommodate this?

    For many travel policies in the market, the loss of the EHIC is unlikely to lead to a meaningful change to terms and conditions; any reference to the EHIC would simply be irrelevant and customers would still be able to make medical claims. However, for those policies where an EHIC must be in place and used, changes are likely. Pragmatically, insurers would look to make reasonable changes to policy wordings where necessary and to avoid customer confusion. 

  • I have a pre-existing condition. Will I still be able to afford to travel in Europe?

    Most travel insurance policies already require customers to declare any pre-existing medical conditions and, depending upon the type and severity of conditions, cover is often still available. This process already applies to countries where there are no reciprocal health agreements and will continue to apply for trips within Europe should the EHIC be discontinued. As insurers will incur increased claims costs for treatment received within Europe this could have a direct impact on the prices charged to consumers. This will vary depending on the provider.  

    Without the EHIC protection, it will be even more important to ensure that you have travel insurance that is adequate for your needs and this may involve paying more to protect yourself against significant medical costs when previously you may have chosen to rely upon the EHIC. 

  • I have retired/am planning to retire in France. What access to healthcare will I get?

    Travel insurance will only cover temporary stays abroad, for periods not exceeding the trip duration you have chosen. It does not cover those who are living abroad on a permanent or semi-permanent basis and most travel policies require that, to be eligible for cover, customers have their main home in the UK and are registered with a doctor in the UK.