Sun-starved Brits jetting off next year have been issued a warning by the government to ensure they have travel insurance.
Hopes that the European Health Insurance Card scheme would continue have been quashed meaning travellers to the EU will face a hike in travel insurance premiums.
The card covers treatment that is “medically necessary” until your planned return home, on the same basis as it would be provided to a citizen of that country.
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In most cases, care provided under EHIC is free – or at least at a reduced cost.
The government had previously said that it wished to procure reciprocal healthcare deals to replace the EHIC.
But this hasn’t materialised, meaning holidaymakers must stump up the full cost of their medical treatment in EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
This is why it will be vital for travellers to ensure they have adequate travel insurance before jetting overseas – to ensure bills don’t spiral.
But the cost of travel insurance is expected to rise – especially for those with pre-existing medical conditions.
Travel insurance for the over 70s can also be particularly expensive.
The government says: “You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.
“Your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be valid up to 31 December 2020.
“It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition.
“This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.”
With less than six months until the end of the Brexit transition period, the government has started a £93million campaign about the new measures in place.
“The UK’s new start: let’s get going” initiative was launched yesterday on television, radio and online.
It includes information on how to ensure your passport is valid for the required time, how to procure comprehensive travel insurance and requirements for holidaymakers planning to drive.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said: “At the end of this year we are leaving the single market and customs union regardless of the type of agreement we reach with the EU. This will bring changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.
“While we have already made great progress in getting ready for this moment, there are actions that businesses and citizens must take now to ensure we are ready to hit the ground running as a fully independent United Kingdom.
“This is a new start for everyone in the UK – British and European citizens alike – so let’s get going.”