We all love the opportunity to escape and visit a European country, whether it’s for business or pleasure. None of us have the ability to predict the future and anything can happen when we’re abroad, no matter how careful we try to be. You could be out eating in a restaurant and get food poisoning or we could have an accident and suffer an injury. In that instance we’d need to seek medical treatment while on the continent. In some cases, health care throughout Europe can be very expensive, but thankfully you can apply for a European Health Insurance Card from https://www.ehic.co.uk/ to help reduce the costs, or in some cases get medical treatment for free.
Healthcare in Europe differs from country to country, there’s not just a universal ‘One size fits all’ solution. Some countries may expect for patients to pay for their food and bedding while in hospital, others may require for the patient to pay the complete costs of their treatment up front before claiming the expenses back later. This is where an EHIC card would come in very useful and would make it easier for your claiming process easier if you were in this scenario.
An EHIC is valid for five years and is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is comprised of all 28 current member states of EU along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland, are not a member of the EEA or the EU, but they have an agreement to participate as part of the EHIC scheme. Therefore your EHIC card will not be valid should you try to obtain medical treatment outside of the EEA or Switzerland. It also does not cover air ambulance or mountain rescue, private care, cancellation or extra accommodation costs.
As an EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance, it is essential that you take an insurance policy as well, In many cases, insurance companies have been known to reduce the waiver if the claimant had an EHIC.
The European Health Insurance Card covers all medical treatment, including pre-existing illnesses like kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy, you just need to pre-arrange these with the NHS before you travel. You can also obtain routine maternity care under your EHIC, providing you’re not travelling specifically for treatment or with the intention to give birth.
When applying for your EHIC, remember that everybody needs their own individual card. So if you’re planning a family holiday, you will also need to submit applications for your children and partner, all you need is their full name, date of birth and National Insurance Number. Once your application has been approved you should receive your card within seven days.