Brexit could force UK to set up new healthcare scheme for tourists

PUBLISHED: 14:58 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 14:58 20 July 2017

PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Brussels is holding out on the government's hopes of continuing membership of the European health insurance scheme post-Brexit.

The UK may be forced to set up its own healthcare insurance for tourists holidaying in European countries if Brussels plans to limit the scope of current rules.

British negotiators want a continuation of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, which gives tourists the right to state-provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and covers EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The EHIC also applies to Switzerland.

But European Commission negotiators are understood to favour more limited and specific validity for the EHIC scheme after Brexit.

Brexit Secretary David Davis confirmed last month that the UK was seeking a continuation of the EHIC scheme but said if it could not get one “then we will provide one unilaterally”.

The EHIC scheme covers treatment that is medically necessary for tourists until they return home and is provided on the same basis that residents in the country they are visiting receive healthcare.

Therefore British tourists can access either free treatment or healthcare at a reduced cost, depending on the rules in the country they are visiting.

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue


Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are keeping up the pressure on politicians as Brexit rumbles on. Here is a list of the events organised across the UK in the coming weeks.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy