Brexit and the European Health Insurance Card

Health
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Dr. Jon Stanley

 

Dr. Jon Stanley, Bow Group Health Contributor writes in The Guardian's Letters

Read the original letter at The Guardian

"Has the status of the EHIC, the European health insurance card, been raised in the EU referendum debate? What will be the consequences for this if the vote is for Brexit – and how will it affect travellers and expats living in the EU?"

In response to Hazel Farrall (Letters, 28th May), I can say with confidence that if we vote to leave the EU nothing at all will happen regarding the EHIC for at least two years because of Article 50. Within the EEA, which will be where we are immediately post-Brexit, the EHIC will continue. I have written for the Bow Group on this and it’s clear to me as a doctor that EHIC will evolve in the future whether we stay or leave. The EHIC has never covered anything beyond emergency care and the UK has identical deals with Australia and New Zealand now, so there’s no reason the UK wouldn’t carry on with EHIC once we Brexit.

EHIC has also never covered medical evacuation by air ambulance nor repatriation of a deceased relative from abroad, so you should always have backup travel insurance anyway to cover these very sad but also very expensive situations.

Dr. Jon Stanley is a member of the Royal College of Surgeons and a graduate of Sheffield University

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