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Travelling in the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on October 31 2019, your access to healthcare when visiting the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland is likely to change.

If you're using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by the UK, this will still be valid until October 31 2019.

If you're planning to travel on or after October 31 2019, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

At present, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, on the same basis as a resident of that country.

EHIC covers you for necessary treatment until your planned return.

It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth.

The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property.

The EHIC will also not cover your medical expenses if you're going abroad specifically to have treatment.

We always advise that you take out travel insurance when going abroad, both to EU and non-EU destinations.

Check advice for the country you're visiting

Each EEA country has specific guidance on how to access healthcare or claim refunds.

If you intend to move abroad or are going abroad specifically to have treatment, different rules apply.

Read about moving abroad or planning medical treatment abroad before you read about the details of the country you're visiting.

The following European countries do not accept the EHIC.

Make sure you have adequate insurance before you travel to these countries:

  • the Channel Islands, including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
  • the Isle of Man
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • the Vatican

Page last reviewed: 8 February 2019
Next review due: 8 February 2022