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Will EHIC Become Obsolete After The EU Referendum?

Later this week UK residents will participate in a referendum to decide whether the UK remains or leaves the European Union. There is great uncertainty on what effects leaving the EU would cause to the UK. For millions of UK holiday makers who plan to take breaks in the EU, one uncertainty is whether their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will still be valid?

The European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) which were introduced in June 2004, are valid for holidays/short stays in the EEA (European Economic Area) and allow card holders to experience the same medical rights as residents of the EEA country they visit. Therefore they are entitled to free or reduced health care costs depending on the host country's health infrastructure.

Many UK travellers have seen it as a vital item to have and take on their trips. It is estimated that there are over 27 million valid EHIC according to the Department of Health. A spokesperson for the Department of Health has stated that addressing the validity of the EHIC for UK residents, should the UK leave the EU, is a significant matter that must be addressed within the withdrawal negotiations. Therefore it could be months before we know the future of the EHIC. MP Emma Reynolds commented that the alternative for UK residents should the service EHIC provide be lost, would be to arrange private insurance prior to travelling.

As a broker with 25 years experience in travel insurance, we would recommend that a UK holiday maker even with a valid EHIC should look to take out travel insurance. We advise this, as the EEA country you visit may not offer free healthcare, and you may be expected to pay for the treatment you receive yourself. Therefore it is prudent to take out sufficient insurance to cover any medical costs. Contact our office today for a bespoke travel policy quote.


Author: Ryan Hinegan

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