Passport, money and Ehic card have long made up the essential core of my ‘must not lose’ items when pottering around Europe on holiday. However, with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU what will become of my trusty Ehic card?
Often referred to as ‘the Ehic’, the European Health Insurance Card is free to obtain from gov.uk and provides free or discounted medical care in the 28 countries of the EU. This is based on an agreement between the EU’s member states and is a reciprocal arrangement, so EU citizens can use their cards in the UK, too.
For now, as with our other aspects of EU membership, the Ehic is usable, as the UK remains a full member of the EU. However, as the negotiations between the UK and the EU have now begun, its future is up for negotiation.
Protecting the Ehic
At Which?, we’ve been calling on the government to use the negotiations to enable UK travellers to be able to continue to have the protections the card provides when in Europe – and this week we received some good news.
On Monday, the UK government set out its negotiating offer to the EU for ‘safeguarding the position of EU citizens living in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU’. That included a very welcome commitment to seek an ‘ongoing arrangement akin to the Ehic scheme’ as part of the negotiations.
This is a good sign and we welcome the government signalling its intention in this area. Whether this will be delivered and exactly what the details of this arrangement will be depends on the negotiations themselves. So we’ll be keeping a keen eye on the progress of this issue, but at least it’s on the table.
EU travel after Brexit
This isn’t the only Brexit travel issue we’re calling on the government to deliver for consumers though. Other key issues, such as flight delay and cancellation policy, need to be addressed, as does the future arrangements of mobile data roaming and package holidays. We’ll continue to keep you updated as the negotiations continue.
Have you ever used the Ehic? Or have you ever been caught out from not having one when you needed it?