With the end of the Brexit transition period fast approaching, many Brits are still waiting for clarification on what life after Brexit will look like after December 31, 2020.
One question many want to be answered is, Will the European Health Insurance Card or EHIC as it is most commonly known, still, be valid after Brexit?
Well, according to the UK Government website, the answer is quite simple. For most people, the EHIC will NOT be valid once the transition period is over.
Currently, the EHIC, that is carried by at least 27 million Brits, entitles you to state-provided medical treatment if you fall ill, in all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. This will all change from January 1 2021, when it will no longer be valid for most UK citizens.
So who will still be eligible to use the current EHIC post Brexit?
UK state pensioners living in the EU before the end of 2020, will still be able to use their EHIC beyond December 31 of this year.
British expat pensioners can also continue to use their S1 form – this is the certificate that entitles them to healthcare in another EU country on the same basis as a resident of that country.
For those Brits currently living in an EU country, things will also remain the same for the rest of this year but after December 31, UK nationals that live and work within the EU will retain full entitlement to healthcare in the country they reside.
Another question being asked is, Do these changes mean travel Insurance will become more expensive?
The EHIC, no longer being valid from January 1 2021, will be one of the major factors in the rising cost of travel insurance for Brits wanting to travel abroad.
It is also important to note that the EHIC only covers you for emergency medical treatment. It does not provide the same level of cover as travel insurance which also covers you for things such as flight delays, loss of baggage and repatriation.
According to reports, the UK Government is currently working on new agreements with EU countries which could mean UK tourists will see their emergency medical costs covered when they visit. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
The UK currently has reciprocal health insurance deals in place with a few non-EU countries, including Australia and New Zealand, where UK visitors can receive urgent treatment at a reduced cost or for free.
The UK Government website states that travel insurance remains extremely important, particularly for those who have pre-existing medical conditions.
Furthermore, new Brexit laws will also require Brits who are travelling, to have a least six months validity on their passports from the day of travel.
The requirements for travelling with pets into the EU will also change from January 2021. Owners will need to make sure they have an EU blood test with owners advised to visit their vet and start the process at least 4 months prior to travel.
For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-after-brexit
Further information on travelling to the EU from 2021 can be found at the UK Government website here https://www.gov.uk/visit-europe-1-january-2021