Holidaymakers could face higher medical bills abroad if we leave the EU with a no deal this Friday. The Department of Health and Social Care tweeted yesterday: ‘European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will no longer be valid if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. You should buy comprehensive travel insurance to cover any healthcare costs while travelling in the EU.’
For some, the EHIC has been used as a replacement for travel insurance for many years, and whilst this is not recommended, it entitled holidaymakers to free or discounted medical treatment when travelling to any EU country. Holidaymakers with pre-existing medical conditions, in particular, would rely on the EHIC rather than paying insurance premiums.
But now, the UK faces losing this privilege if the extension for Article 50 is rejected. So, what should holidaymakers do?
Understandably, holidaymakers are concerned that a comprehensive travel insurance policy will cost more. However, a comprehensive policy simply does not exist. What classes as comprehensive cover for one will not be comprehensive for another, which is why it is essential holidaymakers ensure they are buying a travel insurance policy that is suitable for their individual needs and covers their personal situation.
Those with a medical condition should always ensure this is declared correctly on the policy. Information on how to complete a medical declaration can be found here. If an existing medical condition is not declared on the policy or not declared correctly it can invalidate the cover.
Without the EHIC, or a valid insurance policy, holidaymakers are liable for any medical treatment and with costs quickly rising into the thousands many can be left severely out of pocket should something go wrong on holiday.
Are you concerned about medical cover and the cost of treatment abroad? Get in touch, we want to hear from you.