UK residents get medical care for free, or at a reduced cost, in 31 countries due to European Health Insurance Cards. But if in case the UK decides to get apart from the European Union without a deal, the insurance is no longer on the EU. The government has asked all 31 countries to keep EHICs in use until 31 December 2020, no matter what happens with Brexit though. Still, only three have agreed to cover UK tourists if there’s no deal.
It is being warned by the UK’s largest travel insurance provider that this would mean prices will go up, especially for people with health problems. After a no-deal Brexit, if the British people need medical help in any of them, they will either have to pay or rely on travel insurance. The government is still trying to sort deals pertaining to healthcare. The British Insurers say that if EHICs largely disappear in a no-deal Brexit, they will inevitably see an increase in claims costs which can have a direct impact on the prices charged to consumers. A document from Operation Yellowhammer says that people need to pay for treatment in the EU and a minority of patients can even face substantial costs.
Health experts warned that even if there is a Brexit deal, there are chances that EHIC may not continue after a transition period. According to Mark Dayan, from the Nuffield Trust, an insurance company, gives his views about the movement that he is not “optimistic” about the retention of EHIC after Brexit. He said: “EHIC is connected to the part of European Union law that takes into account with free movement of people. The European Union doesn’t like the thought of us cherry-picking only the bits we like.”