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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC ) was introduced in 2006, and replaced the original E111.
The EHIC allows the cardholder to receive emergency healthcare whilst on a temporary visit to an EU member country, (plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and is available to residents of the UK aged over 16. It is not available to residents of the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.
If you have an accident, or suddenly become ill whilst away, the EHIC will enable you to obtain treatment in a state hospital (it generally excludes private medical treatment) either free of charge or at a reduced cost in the same way that they would treat one of their own residents.
Having an EHIC certainly does not mean that you do not need to buy a travel insurance policy because it does not cover all of your medical costs, it does not cover the additional costs of travelling to and staying with a sick or injured person, and it does not cover the cost of getting you back to the UK.
Holidaysafe travel insurance recognises the fact that the EHIC can seriously reduce the cost of medical bills abroad, and rewards prudent travellers by waiving the policy excess in the event of a claim, where the EHIC is used to reduce costs.
You should be aware that an EHIC is only valid for five years which means that people who obtained cards in 2006 may well discover that their card has expired.
You can obtain an EHIC free of charge by
• Applying on the Department of Health or European Health Insurance Card website
• By telephone 0845 606 2030
• By completing the application form available from some Post Offices and post it using the accompanying addressed envelope.
You can obtain holidaysafe travel insurance by visiting www.holidaysafe.co.uk
To get a quote please choose one of the following policy types;