Important information regarding healthcare in Europe
If you are a UK resident and you become ill whilst visiting a European Union (EU) country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you are entitled to reduced cost (sometimes free), state provided healthcare treatment.
To benefit from this you will need to take a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.
The EHIC, which is free, has been introduced to replace the old E111 form. If you are planning to travel to one of these countries you should apply for an EHIC.
The level of benefit provided by the EHIC card depends on the country visited and may not cover all treatment costs and services that are free through the NHS, therefore the EHIC is complementary to travel insurance and not an alternative.
However, if the costs of a medical expenses claim are reduced by the use of the EHIC, you will not have to pay an excess. Some countries require you to show your EHIC before treatment is provided, so always remember to keep it with you.
It is important to remember that EHIC’s have expiry dates, so if you already have a card, check the expiry date at least six weeks before you travel to ensure yours is valid.
What’s more, certain costs would not be covered by an EHIC, including repatriation. The table below shows what you might be expected to pay if you didn’t have a valid travel insurance policy.
Typical cost of repatriation from abroad:
|Air Ambulance |
|N Africa & Canary Islands
Data supplied by FirstAssist Insurance Services September 2011.
Changes to the Reciprocal Health Agreement mean that an EHIC will not cover you for any medical treatment within Guernsey, Alderney, Sark or Herm, so you need to make sure that you have valid travel insurance if you are travelling to any of these countries.
Travel insurance provides many benefits including rescue services, additional accommodation and travel costs incurred as a result of needing treatment or repatriation costs back to the UK. It also provides cover for other events such as holiday cancellation, missed departure and baggage etc.
The quickest and easiest way to apply for an EHIC is online at www.dh.gov.uk/travellers (delivery within 7 days).
For more travel advice visit www.fco.gov.uk