/ Travel & Leisure

Will Ehic cards still exist after Brexit?

Ehic card

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?

Comments
Guest
Neil Higgins says:
1 July 2017

I have always taken medical cover when going to Europe for i believe this card dose not cover everything,
Scrap the card and as we go abroad take up medical cover and insist every one who come to England does the same this card is a farce for exploiting our NHS to people coming to this Great Country of ours
[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our Community Guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Guest

All very well for those that can afford it Neil and for those on a day trip to France and get ill or have an accident ? that way of working will stop many from going overseas , or maybe that is the plan ? Think of the poor . I am all for protecting the NHS and I am a bit of a nationalist but I vote to keep this in place.

Guest
Ann Swindale says:
2 July 2017

Please stop referring to England! We are, for now at least, the United Kingdom, we have visitors from other countries in Wales and Scotland too you know!

Guest
Catherine M E Stow says:
3 July 2017

What a load of anti-EU rubbish. Majority of of people exploiting our NHS are non-European.
European and proud of it.

Guest
Guest

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Guest

The EHIC is provided under the auspices of the European Economic Area (EEA), not the European Union. I expect the government is going about protecting its validity for UK citizens in the right way but its continuation was not seriously in doubt. I believe it is more a case of offering a guarantee to the EU [as part of the Brexit bargaining] that EU residents after Brexit who are temporarily in the UK will continue to be eligible for health treatment within the limited capacity of the scheme.

Thirty-two countries in Europe participate in the EHIC scheme: the 31 member states of the EEA plus Switzerland. This coincides with the 28 member states of the EU and the four member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). The UK will continue to be a member of the EEA after leaving the EU.

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Guest

Last paragraph – its a German Trait John part of their physic although I use it extensively I dont have any German DNA maybe I subconsciously admire their national emphasis. Now I wonder how much the House of “Windsor ” does ? As one guy in Hawker Aviation once said to me “bl**dy foreigners ( obviously not a “Royalist “) but a “died in the wool “Londoner .

Guest

My friend has, she had to get an emergency document from Ireland which was not easy as they are only open limited hours and rarely picked up the phone.

Guest

I have tried to use my Ehic twice, but the doctors didn’t recognise it (or chose not to recognise it), so I ended up paying for the consultations in full. I still carry it when I go abroad, though, you never know, but I don’t expect Brexit to make matters better.

Guest
Reg Parker says:
7 July 2017

EHIC card is of little value for minor problems and of no use for major ones. Friends without foreign travel insurance needed hospital specialist treatment when on holiday in mainland EEC. They have paid the first £10,000 bill, and are struggling to pay the second. The best truly comprehensive travel insurance for a week’s holiday abroad in EEC costs under £10 per head per day, much less per day for longer stays. Let other people’s experience be the best teacher. You can afford foreign travel insurance, however expensive it at first seems. You cannot afford to travel anywhere abroad without it.

Guest

Reg , you do know he ETHIC card allows you equivalent medical services (non-private ) that the country you visit applies to its own citizens therefore if country X charges 20 % costs directly to country X,s citizens then you pay the same. The treatment will be to the same level as a citizen of that country , it will NOT cover private hospital attendance , nor being rescued by a mountain rescue team /ski party nor the costs of the flight home and is not valid on cruises.nor if you go abroad to have treatment avoid Estonia/ Croatia for example as they charge a -“pro-payment ” .

Guest

I think Which? would do better promoting all travellers have proper travel insurance including those visiting the UK. Which? should make be campaigning to make sure it is affordable and questioning unfair clauses.

Travel insurance provides a lot more cover than just health.

Guest
Monique Tardieu says:
14 July 2017

I totally agree with Alfa about the travel insurance. The overstretched NHS should not pay for anyone who is simply visiting this country.
When we go abroad and are ill or have to see a doctor we have to pay. I’m afraid that it should be the same for people who are not permanent residents of the UK.
Monique.

Guest
Hazel says:
30 July 2017

I had a car accident in Spain some years ago and my hospital treatment was wonderful and totally without charge to me because I had my E111 with me. Marvellous