Should I renew my EHIC card or will Brexit make it invalid?
Q. I have received reminders to renew my EHIC 111.
Will there still be a reciprocal right to treatment whilst in other European countries if Brexit ever gets completed? Is it worth my while to pay to renew? If the arrangement would remain as is for a short period only would EHIC card holders be entitled to a refund?
A. A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the old E111 forms in 2005. At the minute, if we fall sick or get injured while visiting the EU, then we can access the same free or discounted medical care that is available to residents of that country. The EHIC proves your eligibility.
The first point that needs making is that European Health Insurance Cards are completely free. Nobody should be paying a penny. There's probably a number of firms out there that will provide the service for a fee, but the card itself does not cost anything. It's really straightforward to apply for an EHIC - simply visit www.ehic.org.uk and fill in the required details.
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Now back to the main issue, which is whether the card will still be valid after Brexit.
Regardless of the deal reached, the government will need to renegotiate the reciprocal healthcare arrangements. At the minute, a bill called Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill is being passed through Parliament to help reach such an arrangement. It is important as the scheme provides healthcare for an estimated 190,000 UK expats living in the EU as well as 50 million UK residents who travel abroad to EEA countries each year
Until a new initiative is in place, you should check what the agreement is with the country you're visiting as EHIC may not be valid. Make sure you have travel insurance too (you really should have this anyway).
The short answer is yes, you should renew your card. It won't cost anything and you've got it to hand if an agreement is reached within the next seven weeks. If it becomes invalid then it's no skin off your nose.
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