Despite Brexit, until we actually leave the EU, we should all still be traveling to Europe with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC comes from an agreement made between all countries in the European Union and the European Economic Area to offer free or discounted medical care. None of us wants to think about getting ill during our holidays but it’s a reality for many. Despite being free, over half the people in the UK don’t have one and in 2016, over 5 million expired. The rules for this card vary widely so it is worth going onto the NHS page to read through them and we would still strongly advise taking out holiday insurance as well.
How to apply for one:
- Be aware that if you search for the card via a search engine, you may end up at sites that want to charge you for the card. Instead, use this link to apply: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx
- All your children need their own card
- It is still worth taking out holiday insurance as well. The EHIC doesn’t cover the cost for you to be repatriated in an emergency, nor does it cover delayed flights and lost baggage like holiday insurance.
- If you do need to use your EHIC card, make sure that you’re being treated under the public healthcare system, rather than privately as the card only covers you under the public system. In this case, be careful of what you sign when you’re having treatment and make sure that you understand what is being explained to you. In the case that you have to have private treatment, as long as the condition is covered by your insurance, you should be able to claim.
- This NHS site shows a country-by-country guide to using your EHIC.
If you already have a card
- Make sure that you check the expiry date before you travel
- If your card has expired, visit http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx
- Make sure that if you’re traveling in a group or as a family, that each member has their own card