The European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) may not be valid in all EU countries in the case of a no-deal Brexit, the government has conceded.
New advice was issued yesterday urging travellers who intend to use Ehics to check what travel arrangement is with the specific country they are visiting after March 29 “as the card may not be valid”.
The warning is for travellers visiting EU or European Economic Area countries or Switzerland in the event of a no-deal EU exit.
The fresh advice from the Department of Health and Social Care also applies to students studying in the EU.
“In addition, UK nationals should follow current advice from the government which recommends travellers take out separate travel insurance to cover any healthcare requirements needed in any country within the EU or outside,” the department said.
“This is particularly advisable for travellers with a pre-existing or long-term health condition.”
Further guidance for UK nationals living or working in the EU was also provided, encouraging people to register for access to healthcare in the country they live in, “as some residents may need to be a long-term resident or pay social security contributions to access free or discounted healthcare”.
The health department added: “If a resident is in the process of applying for residency the advice suggests individuals take out separate health insurance.
“The advice is to check what the latest healthcare arrangements are between the UK and the country British nationals currently live in.
“Until further agreements are reached between the UK and individual EU member states, the government advises UK citizens to follow this latest guidance to ensure they are fully prepared for any unexpected healthcare requirements overseas.”
The advice emerged as MPs prepare for today’s vote on amendments to prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal that could shape the next stage of negotiations with the EU.
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