Will the EHIC be valid after Brexit?

As Britain has left the EU, you might be wondering if you can still use your European Health Insurance Card. The answer is yes – for now. The NHS advises that during the transition period, which runs until 31 December 2020, UK nationals can use their EHIC as normal.

Once the transition period has ended, those going on holiday to a European destination will no longer be able to use the healthcare card. There are a few exceptions for UK nationals, including students and pensioners living in Europe before 31 December 2020.

You can keep up to date with the latest information on EHIC with the NHS’ guide.

What is a European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card, also known as EHIC, is a free card that allows free or reduced-cost medical care while travelling in Europe.

You can use the card in any EU country, including the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Remember, you’ll only be able to use your card until the end of 2020.

If you need medical help while on holiday in Europe, simply show the health card on arrival at the hospital or medical centre.

You’re entitled to the exact same state-provided healthcare that citizens of the country you’re visiting have access to.

Whether you’re eligible for free or reduced-cost medical care will depend on what country you’re visiting.

What does EHIC cover?

  • Medical treatment for accidents and illnesses
  • Medical care for pre-existing conditions
  • Routine maternity care
  • Treatment for chronic conditions such as kidney dialysis

A European Health Insurance Card only covers the named cardholder, so your family will need to have their own individual cards.

What countries recognise the EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card can be used in the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

It’s only valid in the UK until 31 December 2020.

European travel insurance

While an EHIC can offer peace of mind and a bit of protection, it’s not a replacement for European travel insurance.

At Sainsbury’s Bank, we recommend you take out a travel insurance policy if you’re going on holiday somewhere in Europe.

We offer single trip annual multi-trip and extended stay policies, find out more about our travel insurance.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE.

Get a quote

Travel guides

Whether you’re off to Europe or somewhere further afield, our travel guides are packed with helpful information.

Dealing with flight disruption

Find out what to do if your flight is delayed, cancelled or disrupted

Find out more
Travel insurance in Europe

See what you’re covered for when you’re travelling in Europe

Find out more
Keep your money safe

Handy tips on how to look after money, cards and valuable items abroad

Find out more

Any questions?

Check out our most frequently asked questions about EU travel insurance. If you still need to talk to us, our friendly team will be happy to help.

Call 0345 305 2621.

Sales and service lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekend and Bank Holidays. Calls may be monitored or recorded. Calls are charged at local rates from landlines and mobiles.

Helpful phone numbers.

This guide aims to be informative and engaging. Though it may include tips and information, it does not constitute advice and should not be used as a basis for any decision, financial or otherwise. Sainsbury's Bank accepts no responsibility for the opinions and views of external contributors and the content of external websites included within this guide. All information correct at date of publication.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE (GLISE) a German insurance company. UK Branch office: Plantation Place, 30 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 3AJ, company number SE000083. Authorised by Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority: register number 769884. Details about the extent of GLISE’s authorisation and regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority, and regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority are available from the insurer on request.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is sold and administered by Hood Travel Limited, registered at Companies House 08318836. Hood Travel is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 597211. Hood Travel Limited’s registered address is at 1st Floor Maitland House, Warrior Square, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 2JY.