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As the peak summer holiday weeks approach, travellers are being urged to double check their European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs), as over 4 million are set to expire in 2014. Therefore, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to explain what the EHIC is, why you need one, and how to get one.
The EHIC is a small blue card which is extremely important for travellers who are planning a trip to Europe. The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area countries, including Switzerland and Iceland, and basically proves that you are a European citizen, and so are part of an agreement to help if you need to seek medical treatment.
If you need to seek medical attention during your trip, you should head to a state/public hospital (as you would in the UK) and show the doctor your EHIC. This should ensure that you receive discounted or free treatment and medications, equal to what a citizen of that country would pay.
The EHIC is free to order through the NHS, and only takes two minutes to fill in the form. The EHIC will be valid from the day your order one (not the day it arrives) and will last for five years. An EHIC should be ordered for each traveller, including young children.
The discount you receive on health care will vary depending on the country you are visiting, and therefore there may still be bills to pay for things like scans, ambulances and medication. Travel insurance will be able to step in to cover these bills for you, and if you’ve used your EHIC, they will usually waive any medical excess for you. The EHIC will not help if you need to be repatriated back to the UK (e.g. if you miss your flight home due to your illness or injury), if you need to come home early, or if a different holiday disaster strikes like cancellation or lost possessions.
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, make sure you and your travelling companions have EHICs, that they are valid, and that you all have quality European travel insurance. For more information visit Holidaysafe.co.uk.Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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