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UK European Consumer Centre

What's next for the EHIC in the UK?

The UK Government’s defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) in Parliament on 15 January could make acceptance of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK consumers travelling to the EU after 29 March this year uncertain.

If the WA had been approved, the EHIC would have been valid until the end of 2020 (during the transition period).

Andy Allen, service director at the UK European Consumer Centre, said: “Currently an EHIC is valid in the 28 EU countries plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It lets you get state healthcare in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free.

“The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance: it is therefore important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy in place before you travel. Some insurance companies also insist that consumers with their policies also carry an EHIC card.

“However, with the defeat of the Withdrawal Agreement we believe there is less certainty as to the validity of the EHIC for UK consumers travelling to the EU after 29 March. In the event of a no deal, it is more likely that UK citizens travelling to EU countries would have to rely on their private travel insurance.

“In the meantime, we would advise that UK consumers travelling to the EU should continue to apply for (and take with them on trips abroad) EHIC cards.”

For more information on EHIC cards, check out our advice page - European Health Insurance Card

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