How EHICs (European Health Insurance Cards) will be affected by Brexit

Millions of EHICs (European Health Insurance Card) have already been issued to EU travelers since 2004. About 27 million of these are issued to UK citizens.

Securing an EHIC is the same as making sure that you have your passport with you when traveling to European countries and other countries like Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Iceland.

Having an EHIC entitles you to free or partially paid emergency healthcare in a different European country. This basically means that this enables you to get the same healthcare rights as the citizens of the country you’re visiting.

As of now, there’s no specific update regarding what will happen to EHIC holders from the UK after Brexitday. This will be the case until April 12, 2019. However, the last update is that all UK EHIC holders can still continue to use their cards until Brexit day.

While having an EHIC is essential as you set foot on another European country, it is also important to know what it could do for you. The general rule here is that the healthcare it can cover is only deemed to require an emergency or necessary treatment. Here are 4 essential health services that an EHIC card can cover.

  • Dental Services – when traveling, such things as losing a tooth or even a few caused by an accident could still be a possibility. If this is the case, then your EHIC should have this covered. Take note that planned dental treatments are not covered by your EHIC.
  • Routine maternity care – if you’ll be traveling in the EU while pregnant, your EHIC can still cover your expenses for your routine check-ups. Note that this will always vary and depend on the country you are visiting. EHIC can’t cover planned birth in a different EU country. You’ll need to sign up for S2 if this is the case.
  • Treatment for pre-existing medical conditions– what EHIC can cover regarding such treatments will depend on the country you’re visiting. It’s just best to seek your insurer’s advice about this.
  • Any emergency medical treatment – whether you get gastroenteritis or injured during your stay in a different EU country, your EHIC should also have you covered. What should be stressed here is that the medical treatment you aim to get is not planned.

As you should already know, if you are traveling as a family, each member should have their own EHIC. Your own EHIC won’t cover for your child if you have one. Whoever’s name is on the card is the only person who is entitled to get the same healthcare benefits that residents get.

Now, even if having an EHIC card can already do you wonders when it comes to unforeseen circumstances while traveling, it’s still best to shop for private insurance coverage. Keep in mind that your EHIC does not cover private care.

In fact, there are some private insurances that would require you to get an EHIC first before you can get a deal from them. This shouldn’t really be an issue because securing an EHIC is free of charge.

It’s just very convenient and ideal to have both EHIC and private insurance. It will not make you worry and think about having to choose between private and state care when an emergency arises. Whatever’s near, you get to be covered.

What will happen to the EHICs after Brexit day?

As of today, Brexit’s effect on EHIC remains unimpactful. The only time this was talked about was when EU still allowed UK holders to use their cards until Brexit day and that was back in 2017.

For now, only speculations about what will happen to UK EHIC after Brexit day are going around. These speculations mostly depend on the deal that will be agreed on by the UK and EU before Brexit day. It’s also possible to not even have a deal, but we’ll let you know of what might come whatever happens.

  • Agreement on Article 50 – this will allow UK EHIC holders to continue using their cards until the two-year transition period is over. This means that UK EHIC holders can use their cards until December 2020. However, there are still no known plans as to how the UK will carry on with this kind of healthcare after 2020. This will only be talked about during the transition period if UK and EU ratify this proposal.
  • No deal – if UK and EU end up without having any deal before April 12, 2019, unfortunately, there’s a big possibility that the effectivity of the EHIC for UK people will just cease. It’s most likely that the UK government will pattern a new healthcare benefit or program with what they already have with countries like Australia and New Zealand.

Again, it’s important to emphasize that these are still speculations. There are still no actual plans regarding UK EHIC holders. If the UK government does, they still haven’t shared anything.