Tourists to Europe could face 'sky high' medical bills within weeks

Always get travel insurance before you travel (Getty)
Always get travel insurance before you travel (Getty)

The impending new year also marks the end of the Brexit transition - and Brits could face thousands in hospital bills if they travel to the EU without insurance.

The government has said European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will be valid up until December 31, 2020 but will expire after this date.

Read more: This is how travel to the EU will change post-Brexit

An EHIC allows Brits, especially those with pre-existing health conditions, to access healthcare in the EU often at the same cost as local residents would pay.

In 2021, the government says travellers should make sure they have the correct healthcare insurance cover that includes all your needs when travelling to the EU - particularly if you have a pre-existing health condition.

Travel rules for Brits visiting the EU will change in 2021 (Getty)
Travel rules for Brits visiting the EU will change in 2021 (Getty)

New research from Which? has warned of sky-high medical bills for those without the appropriate travel insurance.

It found that hospital treatment for severe food poisoning in Portugal could cost £2,000 while treatment for a heart attack in France would leave you £14,000 out of pocket.

Read more: This British travel company is giving away free flights for 2021 holidays

In the Spanish hotspot of Mallorca, a pelvic fracture could cost up to £8,329 while an appendectomy in Italy could cost up to £4,000.

Which? found that the most common medical claims for Brits on holiday included lower limb injuries, infections, stomach complaints, upper limb injuries and ear infections.

Read more: The most popular destinations for a Christmas getaway in the UK for 2020, according to TripAdvisor

Research from ABTA in 2019 found that one in five Brits don’t take out travel insurance before going overseas, which means they could be at risk of paying these bills themselves.

According to government figures, one in eight Brits faced some sort of issue while travelling internationally in 2018, with medical issues cited most frequently.

Click here for a comprehensive guide on how travel to the EU will change after Brexit.

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