Foreign Office updates advice to confirm post-Brexit healthcare coverage

The Foreign Office has issued updated advice for a range of European countries to confirm that UK-issued healthcare cards will remain valid for use in EU nations from January 1.

Those applying for EHIC cards from now on will instead be issued with a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), after the UK’s post-Brexit agreement with the EU confirmed a reciprocal health scheme “akin” to EHIC would continue.

The updates confirmed that existing EHICs would still be valid as long as they remained in date.

Earlier this week, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said businesses and travellers should prepare for “substantial” change in travel arrangements from New Year’s Eve and warned of “some disruption” following the UK’s withdrawal.

He also urged travellers to take out comprehensive insurance to ensure they were covered.

The FCDO issued updated advice for countries including Spain, Portugal, Greece, France, Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, Belgium, Croatia, Sweden, Latvia, Slovakia, Romania, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Malta, Luxembourg, Lithuania and Hungary.

However, the NHS EHIC application website confirmed: “From 1 January 2021, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.”

The site said: “The UK has reached an agreement on healthcare when visiting the EU.

“You can continue to use an EHIC or get a provisional replacement certificate (PRC) if you need treatment and do not have a card.

“If you apply for a card now, you’ll get a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of an EHIC. These pages and the application portal will still refer to EHIC until 4 January 2021.

“You do not need to apply for a GHIC if you already have an EHIC. Your EHIC remains valid in the EU until it expires.”

It added: “From 1 January 2021, GHICs and most UK EHICs will not cover you in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

“If you’re visiting those countries, make sure you have travel insurance with health cover and check the GOV.UK travel advice.

“If you’re visiting Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland before 1 January 2021, your UK EHIC entitlements will continue until you leave that country.”

source -travelweekly

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