The EHIC and Travel Insurance

The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a travel essential when holidaying in certain countries. We’ve written in the past about why the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, but what does it actually do?health insurance questions

What’s covered by an EHIC Card?

Well, as a resident of the UK, you’re entitled to necessary state-provided healthcare when travelling temporarily to a country within the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland. To ensure you’re eligible for this medical care if you need it, it’s important to carry a valid EHIC.

If you have an accident or suddenly fall ill, you’ll receive the necessary state-provided medical healthcare at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. The level of treatment you receive may vary between countries.

You’ll be treated on the same terms as a resident of the country you’re in. You may have to pay a patient contribution (also known as a co-payment) but you might be able to seek reimbursement for this when you return home.

The EHIC can also include treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your visit. The card can also ensure you receive routine maternity care should you need it at any point in your trip.

However, it’s probably more important to note what’s not covered by the card.

What’s not covered?

There’s no guarantee your EHIC will cover all the treatment and care you need – so you could be faced with additional large medical costs.

Private treatment will typically not be covered by the card either.

Be aware that the card will not cover you for any treatment that you go abroad specifically to undertake. This includes giving birth.

In addition, there are other large costs that can be associated with falling ill/being injured abroad that will not be covered by the EHIC.

For example, if you or a member of your family are not well enough to fly home – Your EHIC would be of little use in funding accommodation costs so the ill/injured individual is not left alone.

If you need to be flown back to the UK by air ambulance – the EHIC would be of no use either.

Make sure you have Travel Insurance as well

To ensure you’re fully covered for a medical emergency, it’s important to also take out comprehensive travel insurance.

And remember, if you already have one of these little cards tucked inside your wallet – make sure you check the expiry date as they do need to be renewed.

Also, if you’re travelling in a group – everyone over the age of 16 will need their own individual card.

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