Martin Lewis warns over expired European Health Insurance Card
European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) once formed a valuable pillar of travel across Europe before Brexit, given their ability to provide comprehensive medical care abroad. People could continue to sign up to them until recently, as the UK and EU governments negotiated. But now negotiators have allegedly arrived at a working deal, with further details to come later today.
Is the E111 card still valid after Brexit?
The EHIC card entitles people to state-provided medical treatment in any EU country, as long as the holder also comes from a nation in the bloc.
A total of 27 million people in the UK have applied for one of the cards, but they can only take advantage of them until the new year.
From January 1, they will no longer give people the free insurance they need.
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Instead, the Government advises people to buy travel insurance with a healthcare provider before venturing into Europe.
Government advice posted on Gov.uk states: “For most UK nationals, EHICs may not be valid from January 1, 2021.
“Make sure you take out travel insurance with medical cover for your trip.
“You may not have access to free emergency medical treatment and could be charged for your healthcare if you do not get health cover with your travel insurance.”
The rules don’t apply to everyone, as some groups can still secure free state care in Europe.
Pensioners living in the bloc before the end of 2020 can use the EHIC if they apply for a new card.
Students who have started a course in the EU before the end of the year can do the same.
They can continue to take advantage of the EHIC until they finish their studies.
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Frontier workers in the EU living elsewhere can also use the cards, but all eligible groups need to apply for a new one first.
Speaking last week, the Government said it was looking to find a replacement for everyone else.
On December 17, they said they wanted to provide the same cover the EHIC does with a different policy.
Early success could provide a replacement scheme from January 1 to December 31, 2020, giving select people treatment abroad.
An EHIC only covers state healthcare, and people will need other arrangements if they intend to take advantage of private services.
The card also doesn’t cover everything local healthcare offers.
For example, it won’t provide free access to mountain rescue or medical repatriation.
The following nations also don’t accept them:
- The Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
- Isle of Man
- San Marino
- The Vatican
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