Brexit uncertainty could see travellers forking out almost 900 per cent extra for their medical care abroad, travel insurance experts have claimed. In the case of a no deal scenario, the protection offered by the current European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is unknown. Yet it might offer no assurances at all, with Admiral Travel Insurance estimating treatment for food poisoning could cost £2,000 should a British traveller fall ill overseas. Meanwhile for a more serious operation such as an appendix removal, this fee could surge by almost 900 per cent post March 29.
A prescription for painkillers could see travellers forking out £150 – compared to less than £10 back home.
While a date for the UK’s separation from the EU has been set in law, the terms have not.
This means a Brexit agreement by Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as a no deal Brexit, second referendum on Brexit and extension of Article 50 – which would delay Brexit in its entirety – are all still possible.
Key meetings in the House of Commons this week will add more clarity.
Yet in the current uncertain circumstances, the intimidating extra travel costs have come to light.
Cosmin Sarbu, Head of Travel at Admiral, says: “It’s possible that if the UK is faced with a no-deal scenario we could see the cost of medical treatment go up considerably for those without insurance.
“Of course, with so much uncertainty around exactly how Brexit will play out, it’s impossible to predict what will happen with regards to a reciprocal medical agreement, or even if there will be one.
“It’s worrying that so many people are willing to travel to Europe without insurance and are relying on the EHIC in the event of a medical emergency.
“Medical costs for different treatments already vary from expensive to extortionate between countries, and if the UK leaves without a deal, we could see those costs dramatically rise for British holidaymakers visiting Europe without insurance.
“Having travel insurance in place could not only be the difference between you receiving life-saving medical treatment or not but could also save you a huge amount of money.”
The firm also stated one in four Britons would still be prepared to jet away, despite lack of medical cover.
A table released by the company showed costs of an Appendectomy soared in Spain, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Switzerland.
The two latter countries would also see travellers out of pocket the most should they need simple stitches, treatment for a broken leg or a heart bypass.
Meanwhile, a doctors appointment came in at a standard £150 across the board.
Costs for X-Rays also amounted to £100 per person, in the European countries surveyed.