Brits holidaying in EU after Brexit will get ongoing, routine healthcare treatment paid for by UK gov for a year

UK travellers visiting the EU who need ongoing, routine healthcare treatment will have it paid for up to a year after we leave the bloc, even in event of a no-deal.

The government announced today that the temporary agreement will help people who require services such as regular dialysis, oxygen therapy and certain types of chemotherapy.

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In a written statement, health minister Edward Argar said: "The Government recognises that these ongoing, routine treatment costs can be expensive, and makes travelling abroad extremely challenging for many people.

"The scheme will be temporary and will cover travel that takes place between 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021.

"Individuals will need to work with their NHS clinician to agree their treatment requirements and confirm they meet the criteria in the scheme."

The agreement is reciprocal and relates to the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

UK citizens could lose access to state-provided healthcare in the EU through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when the Brexit transition period closes at the end of this month.

Currently, UK citizens can get cover for medical costs when visiting a country inside the EU with the (EHIC).

These cards enable the holder to access treatment at the same cost as locals – so if it's free for them, it's free for you, and if they pay then you pay the same rates.

But after December 31, 2020 – Brexit day – these will no longer be valid and Brits will have to pay extra to buy separate cover, unless we strike an agreement for continued health coverage with the EU.

It's still not clear whether a trade deal will be in place when the UK leaves at the end of the month, but the Government "continues to work hard" in its negotiations with the EU to maintain cover at existing levels, according to Mr Argar.

He added that if an EU-wide deal is not reached, the UK will "assess its options" for healthcare, including "the possibility of negotiating bilateral arrangements" with individual states.

It comes as holidaymakers are already facing more expensive holiday cover due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, new Brexit rules will require Brits to have at least six months validity on their passports, and animal owners to subject pets, including cats and dogs, to EU blood-tests before travelling.

Brits will also be advised to check their mobile phone provider's roaming policy, as free coverage may end.

"As with all Brexit matters, there's some guesswork involved in what the state of play will be once the next deadline passes – and the transition period ends," warns James Daley from campaign group Fairer Finance.

Click here to find out more about how travel insurance and EHIC will change after Brexit.

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