Under the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement British pensioners who are S1 holders and students can continue to use their UK-issued EHIC card for basic health cover when travelling to another EU country as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Pensioners and students can also use the cards when returning to the UK but they now need to apply for new one.
Current EHIC cards are only valid until December 31st.
That means yet more paperwork – but there is a positive side to this, insist citizens' rights campaigners British in Europe.
“This is good news as the new EHICs will verify that you have continued rights to use them under the Withdrawal Agreement,” the group says.
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The following categories of British nationals living in Europe need to apply for a new card:
- If you have a registered S1 form or E121 because you receive a qualifying pension or benefit
- If you have a registered S1 form or E121 because you're a family member of someone with a qualifying pension or benefit
- If you have a registered S1 form or E106 because you're a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another) by 31 December 2020, for as long as you continue to be a frontier worker in the host state
- If you have a registered S1 form or E109 because you're a family member of someone considered to be a frontier worker
- If you are a UK student studying in the EU by 31 December 2020
If you are planning on travelling to the UK or another EU country before the end of the year but returning to your country of residence in the new year, then your current EHIC will cover you for basic health cover.
British students in the EU will be covered by their new EHIC until the end of the studies abroad and only in the country they are studying. They are also advised to have travel insurance.
Remember that an EHIC card does not cover all health costs in EU countries and is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover mountain rescue or cruises, for example. For more info CLICK HERE.
For most Britons the EHIC card will no longer be valid after December 31st.
However anyone with a European Health Insurance card issued by their EU country of residence (which in France is known as a Carte europeenne assurance maladie or CEAM) can still use it for health cover when visiting other EU, EEA countries or Switzerland.
For British residents in the EU who are not pensioners, the UK government told The Local that their CEAM will be valid for any treatment they need while visiting the UK.
The UK government's site says: “If you live in the EU or move there before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in your host country will stay the same from January 1st 2021 for as long as you remain resident.
This means you’ll:
- continue to get state healthcare in your host country on the same basis as other residents
- still be entitled to a European EHIC for travel, including visits to the UK
People who already have a European card issued by their host country do not need to renew it.