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Will the EHIC still be valid after Brexit?

It seems like a lifetime ago that British citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU). A gruelling negotiations period then ensued until Brexit finally occurred, which was immediately followed by another long transition period. With that said, real changes are soon approaching after the transition period ends this year. In this Pacific Prime UK article, we’ll zoom in on one aspect of the change for British people: the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Individual health insurance blog

EHIC and Brexit

First things first, we’ll quickly recap on what the EHIC is. Essentially, it’s a card that gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare and treatment during a temporary stay in another EU or European Economic Area (EEA) country. You’ll be able to get access for free or at a subsidized rate before your planned return back to the UK. If you’d like to find out what is and isn’t covered, check out our earlier article on the EHIC.

EHIC before 31st December 2020

Given the fact that the UK remains in both the EU customs union and single market during the Brexit transition period, most things will stay the same until the transition period ends on 31st December 2020. British travellers will be happy to know that this includes the use of the EHIC card.

Note: While the EHIC card is valid until the end of the transition period, unfortunately, we’re in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Europe battles the pandemic, it’s wise to avoid non-essential travel during this time or ensure that you fly safely during the global pandemic

EHIC after 31st December 2020

After the Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31st December 2020, British travellers will no longer be able to enjoy the benefits that come from an EHIC card. Given this, the UK government advises that travellers secure a travel insurance plan before setting off on a trip abroad.


You can use your EHIC beyond 2020 if you fall into one of the following categories. But you’re strongly advised to check with the relevant authorities in the EU country beforehand.

  • UK state pensioners living in the EU before the end of 2020 and their dependants.
  • “Frontier workers” (those who work in one state and live in another) living in the EU before the end of 2020 and their dependants.
  • UK students who start a course in the EU before the end of 2020.

A word about EHIC vs. Travel Insurance

The EHIC covers pre-existing conditions. In other words, medical conditions you have been diagnosed with before securing the card and travelling overseas. In contrast, many travel insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that you secure the right travel insurance plan, which usually involves reading and understanding lengthy policies filled with jargon.

Healthcare deals with non-EU countries

If you’ll be travelling outside the EU or EEA, you should be aware that the UK has several reciprocal healthcare agreements with non-EU/EEA countries and territories such as Australia and New Zealand. Of course, these deals won’t be affected by Brexit. Nevertheless, these deals tend to be quite limited in what they offer, especially as they don’t cover pre-existing conditions either. Likewise, travel insurance plans are recommended.

Looking for health insurance? Pacific Prime UK can help.

Instead of scouring the web for a health insurance plan after the Brexit transition period, why not get in touch with an experienced and reputable broker like Pacific Prime UK? Whether you’re looking for an international health insurance plan, travel health insurance plan, or any other health insurance plan, we can help. Particularly if you’ve got a pre-existing condition, seeking the advice of a knowledgeable insurance consultant saves you a great deal of time and hassle.

With over two decades in the health insurance industry, we search and compare plans for you, making sure that the plan you go for is the best-value one for your needs and budgets. What’s more, our services are completely free of charge vs. going directly to the insurer. You’ll also get a range of value-added services like administration assistance, hospital information, insurer liaison, claims support, and more!

Contact us today!

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