Travelling with an EHIC

Recently, the news has been filled with stories of travellers who’ve had their EHIC rejected when they sought medical treatment in Europe, and now there are talks of a fine for Spain because of such complaints.

What does this mean for anyone travelling in and around Europe? Especially in countries such as Spain or Greece?

The EHIC (or European Health Insurance Card) should provide all EU citizens with discounted or free health care and medicines in most EU countries including Switzerland. Basically, as an EU citizen the EHIC entitles you to the same treatment as a local would receive in your chosen destination.

However, recently it has been revealed that some EU countries are guilty of rejecting the EHIC, and charging travellers for health care. This issue has been linked to the financial crisis around the world, because instead of waiting for the NHS to pay for a traveller’s medical bills, the hospital will instead try to recoup the costs from the traveller at the point of medical care, to make sure they get paid.

This is a perfect example of why travel insurance is so vital, and why the EHIC should never be considered a substitute for travel insurance.

If you invest in quality travel insurance, your insurer should provide you with a number for their emergency medical team, who will be able to; advise you on any issues such as this, point you in the direction of a state hospital, liaise with your treating doctors, make sure any charges are reasonable, and to make sure you get the treatment you need without worrying about enormous bills.

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you should always carry your EHIC, but also make sure you’re fully protected against unexpected holiday disasters by investing in quality travel insurance.

Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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