European health insurance cards (EHIC) may no longer be valid in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.
Depending on arrangements made with EU member states and European Free Trade Area states (which includes Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland), UK-issued EHIC cards may not be valid if a no-deal scenario goes ahead.
The DHSC updated its healthcare advice last month for UK travellers, stating that the Government is working to maintain the current healthcare arrangements in a deal or no-deal scenario until 31 December 2020.
This means that the Government will continue to cover healthcare for current or former UK residents who are visiting, living or working in the EU, but this depends on EU member states agreeing to extend the current arrangements until the end of 2020.
However, the NHS website has stated that if on April 12, the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then UK citizens visiting within the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland will have to buy travel insurance to cover healthcare.
The NHS has published guidance for accessing healthcare in each EEA country, depending on the chosen country’s health system.
A spokesperson for the DHSC said: “The Department of Health and Social Care has been working closely with EU member states and EFTA states to protect existing healthcare arrangements for these and other groups.
“As we have always advised – UK nationals traveling abroad anywhere should always get compressive travel insurance, regardless of EU Exit or not.
“All UK nationals who are planning to reside in, travel to, work or study in the EU or European Free Trade Area (EFTA) states (Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) are strongly advised to check the country-specific guidance on GOV.UK and NHS.UK about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.”
This story was first published by our sister publication Pulse.