‘Free’ global healthcare for Britons deemed a ‘turn up for the books’ for holidaymakers

Holidays: Europe post-Brexit travel advice provided by expert

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, it was believed the current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would be taken out of action for Britons. However, one travel expert has revealed Britons may still benefit from free health care when travelling.

Furthermore, in what is being described as a “turn up for the books” it seems this new health coverage will extend far beyond Europe according to one expert.

In an Instagram Live video, travel expert Simon Calder talked Britons through anticipated changes which will impact those who fall ill or are involved in an accident while abroad.

The EHIC allows EU members to receive health care which is free or equal to the cost citizens of the holiday destination receive.

“EHIC cards remain valid,” stated the travel expert.

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“What is going on with EHIC is that we were told until Christmas Eve it was ending.

“We were suddenly then told, or at least some journalists were told, and this has subsequently been confirmed to me by Downing Street, that cards all continue to be valid unless they are not valid in which case they will be expired.

“European Health Card continues. That is going to be highly relevant for people who are unable to travel because the cost of insurance is too high.”

Though the card itself will expire, Britons will be entitled to “reciprocal healthcare cover” according to the Government.

In a Government summary explainer, they wrote: “Individuals will be able to have access to a range of social security benefits, including reciprocal healthcare cover and an uprated state pension.

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“On healthcare, where the UK or an EU Member State is responsible for the healthcare of an individual, they will be entitled to reciprocal healthcare cover.

“This includes certain categories of cross-border workers and state pensioners who retire to the UK or to the EU.”

Mr Calder also cited news of a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is mentioned on pages 1,143 and 1,243 of the UK-EU Brexit deal document.

“Unbelievably, and I think this is really kind of off the scale there is going to be something called a GHIC,” Mr Calder explained.

“So you have got your EHIC which is what we have always had and that is part of being in the European Union and you have to have that which is great.

“But a GHIC is a Global Health Insurance Card which means that when I am sunning myself on the beach in Seychelles I know that I am going to get free health care if I manage to break a bone in my hand quite successfully in Seychelles.

“It is an extraordinary turn up for the books which we weren’t expecting.”

So far, there has been no instruction as to how Britons can apply for the GHIC.

However, even amid the promise of a new form of coverage, the travel expert stressed the continued importance of taking out an all-encompassing travel insurance policy prior to jetting off.

“I do not frankly believe that when I go to Florida the Government is going to be offering me free or reduced [medical coverage] or is going to offer my hospital bills.

“But we will find out in due course; the trouble is nobody knows what due course is.

“Therefore there is a limit to what I can say other than things will change and everybody who is travelling should have a really good think about the level of cover they need to have.

“Travel insurance is good and well worth doing.”

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