The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) offers medical treatment for free or reduced-cost while visiting another European Union (EU) country, or European Economic Area (EEA). However, does an EHIC provide adequate health coverage while abroad?
EHIC Covers Necessary Medical Procedures
The EHIC covers necessary treatment due to illness or accident while you are abroad, that is provided by the host nation’s state healthcare. UK residents are treated in the same way as local residents when they are seeking necessary medical treatment in an EU or EEA country. Some of the treatments that are offered include treatment for a pre-existing medical condition, routine maternity care, as long as you do not travel to the country with the intention of giving birth, renal dialysis and other medical treatments.
Repatriation costs can be steep if you fall ill or have an accident abroad. However, if you require repatriation back to the UK following serious illness or injury, EHIC will not cover repatriation costs. That is why it is important to take out comprehensive travel insurance in case of the unlikely need of repatriation back to the UK.
A growing number of UK residents are jetting off abroad specifically for medical tourism for necessary as well as cosmetic medical procedures. However, if you are going abroad for medical tourism purposes (i.e. to give birth abroad) EHIC will not cover the costs of medical tourism.
EHIC Does Not Replace Travel Insurance
Each UK resident who visits another EU or EEA country should carry their own EHIC and make sure that their card is up to date. However, the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. It is a mere supplement. Plan for the unexpected by carrying comprehensive travel insurance. Travel insurance should cover medical expenses, repatriation and other costs that might come up while you are away from home.
The European Health Insurance Card offers UK residents the same level of necessary medical treatment in another EU or EEA country as local residents for free or reduced-cost. However, the EHIC does not cover everything such as repatriation. That is why it is best to take out comprehensive travel insurance before you leave home.
European Health Insurance Card. What’s covered?