Medical treatment in the EU after Brexit
Being able to access medical treatment abroad should you become ill while on holiday is important, and the way that you can do this after Brexit will change. Until your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) expires, you can use this to access state healthcare when in an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. With an EHIC, you will be given emergency or necessary medical care for the same price as a resident in that country – which sometimes means that it’s free of charge.
Can I use my EHIC after Brexit?
After Brexit, any EHIC cards issued before the end of 2020 can still be used until they reach their expiry date. Once your EHIC has run out you will be able to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). A GHIC will cover you for state healthcare in the country you're visiting - just like an EHIC does.
As before, it is important to get travel insurance in addition to your EHIC or GHIC as they will not cover everything e.g. medical repatriation.
How to choose the best travel insurance
Travel insurance is vital in ensuring that things can run smoothly during your holiday, even when the unexpected happens. Not only will it save you money on what can be costly outcomes, but it will give you peace of mind and the confidence to enjoy your trip knowing that you’re covered. You should aim to purchase you travel insurance as soon as your trip has been booked, and you should take the details away with you in case they’re required.
There are a number of things to consider when choosing the right travel insurance policy for you. These include:
Where you’re going
The length of your trip
Any activities you might be partaking in
What you’re taking
Who you’re travelling with
How often you travel
Ensuring that your chosen travel insurance policy covers where you’re going and the length of your trip is important, as some policies are very specific about their cover. For example, there are policies that only cover EU countries and others that purely cover short trips. Getting the wrong policy can invalidate your insurance and will mean that you can’t claim any money back.
Many travel insurance options will cover common activities, but if you’re planning on trying anything daring, such as water sports or climbing, you might need additional cover for these. If you’re taking anything valuable on holiday with you it’s important that your insurance covers this. Should anything get stolen during your trip, you will need to report this to the police within 24 hours as proof of this will need to be provided when you claim.
You may be able to save money on your travel insurance depending on how often you travel and who you’re travelling with. Group and family policies are available from certain providers, and multi-trip policies can work out cheaper (and save you time) when you opt for these rather than purchasing new insurance every time you travel.
What should my travel insurance cover?
At the very least, your travel insurance should cover medical costs, especially after Brexit. Getting medical treatment abroad is very expensive, especially if you need to change your travel plans, and it can amount to tens of thousands of pounds depending on the care that you need.
Your travel insurance should cover:
Getting home if your travel plans have had to change
Having a family member or friend to stay with you/travel home with you
Temporary emergency dental treatment
Repatriation costs in the case of death abroad
You must remember to declare any pre-existing medical conditions you have when taking out travel insurance, as you will not be covered should something happen that is related to your condition if your insurer wasn’t made aware of it. If you have a medical condition that makes finding travel insurance difficult, there are specialist providers that may be able to help. You should not take the risk of travelling without cover.
As long as you have an EHIC or GHIC and the right travel insurance in place, travelling to the EU and getting medical treatment after Brexit will be perfectly seamless. Ready to book your adventure? Take a look at our routes and book your next holiday today.