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The convenience of the EHIC card has benefited UK nationals for years as a way of avoiding the cost of needing health insurance while abroad in the EU. European Health Insurance Cards not only cover pre-existing medical conditions but also emergency care. Those with chronic illnesses can also travel with the knowledge that they'll receive treatment on the same terms as the citizens of the country they're visiting.

With regards to the Brexit White Paper published on 12th July 2018, Theresa May's government said it wanted UK and EU nationals to continue to be able to use the EHIC to receive health care while on holiday within the European Union. However, no one should rely on it being valid beyond Brexit. Currently, the NHS is advising UK nationals not to count on this being the case. The BBC issued the warning that after a transition period the EHIC may no longer be valid in EU countries, or in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein where the scheme also applies.

The UK has reciprocal health insurance deals with a few non-EU countries, including Australia and New Zealand, which will be unaffected by the final result of Brexit. You may be wondering how Brexit will affect UK business travellers abroad, or anyone needing health care within the EU.

EHIC card validity period

At this stage your European Health Identity Card (EHIC) allows you the same medical care as EU nationals and, if a deal is agreed, then British travellers may be able to use their EHIC for a transition period. As it stands a Brexit deal has been agreed in principle with the EU. Both the UK and the EU need to approve and sign the withdrawal agreement. A UK general election is being held on the 12th December 2019 and, depending on the results, the UK could still leave with a no deal if the withdrawal agreement is not approved by the new Brexit deadline of the 31st January 2020. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, it's likely that UK citizens' access to the EHIC card will be very limited or non-existent. While it's difficult to say at this point, the general consensus is that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, your EHIC will no longer be valid.

If you have travel arrangements after this day, it's strongly advised that you purchase travel insurance just as if you were visiting a non-EU country. There are limitations to the EHIC card so if you're a holiday maker it's important to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers all pre-existing medical conditions you have and the fun activities you plan to do on your trip.

How long does EHIC cover you for?

Technically, it's five years. However, as mentioned above this might be subject to change after 31st January 2020.

Holiday Extras Travel Insurance with medical cover

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We have been voted best travel insurance provider at Holiday Extras for more than 10 years running at Globe Travel Awards. Our Gold and Platinum travel insurance have been 5 Star rated by Defaqto which means our Gold and Platinum cover have a comprehensive level of features and benefits.

Our Platinum cover is our premium and most comprehensive level of cover with up to £10 million in medical cover. When you take out a Platinum policy, you can be assured of top cover levels for medical, baggage, repatriation and legal expenses as well as numerous other added benefits including:

If you would like a cheaper travel insurance, you may like to take a look at our Bronze or Silver cover which provide appropriate levels of cover, including up to £10 million in medical cover with our Silver cover, or up to £5 million in medical cover with Bronze.

Medical cover
£5 million
£10 million
£10 million
£10 million
Cancellation cover
Baggage cover
Lost passport
Excess charge
Personal money
Defaqto rating
2 Star rating
3 Star rating
5 Star rating
5 Star rating

*Please note that you are not covered for cancellation/curtailment of flights, ferries, Eurostar or closure of the Channel Tunnel, or delays or disruption in the event of a 'no-deal Brexit' with solely this product. Find out below how you could add-on Brexit Disruption Cover to your policy. Whatever happens after the 31st January 2020, check with your insurance provider that you have the right level of cover for you.

Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover

We want to ensure that no matter where and when you're travelling, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, you can have enhanced protection. That's where Holiday Extras Brexit Disruption Cover comes in.

Brexit Disruption Cover is available as an add-on to your travel insurance policy. To book, simply complete your initial travel insurance booking and select Brexit Disruption Cover from the list of optional add-ons. Alternatively, if you'd prefer to speak to someone, call our Kent-based call centre on 0800 316 0104, and one of our agents can talk you through the process. For a complete rundown, visit our Brexit Disruption cover page.

Remember, you can book a travel insurance policy online at any time or via our UK call centre!

All information correct as of November 2019. Sources: the UK Government website and The Association of British Travel Agents website and the NHS website and the BBC website.

Further Brexit Advice

If you found this Brexit and EHIC guide useful, then read through a few of our other top Brexit guides for more helpful information.

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