By Connor Christopher
Whether your reasons for traveling to Europe are for business or for pleasure, you want your trip to run as smoothly as possible. Hopefully you won’t get ill or sick during your European adventures, but in the off chance you do, it’s best to be prepared for the worst but hope for the best. Make sure you renew your European Health Insurance Card today, because it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Provided you’re a citizen of the European Union, you are entitled to an EHIC which entitles you to free or discounted medical treatment whenever you visit an EU country. The card entitles you to the same rights as the locals of that country, so if their medical care is free, then so is yours. Over 5 million EHIC’s are set to expire over the coming year, so if you already have one, make sure to check the expiry date before you set off on your travels.
The European Health Insurance Card is completely free, you just need to fill out a simple, online application or calling the NHS on 0300 330 1350, and it will be process and sent to you within days. The card is then valid for five years at a time but only covers one individual person, so if you have a child under 16, include them on your application and you’ll receive an EHIC for each of you.
While in Europe, the EHIC will cover treatment for chronic and per-existing medical conditions throughout the duration of your trip. Your EHIC must be presented when you require treatment, so make sure you carry it on your person at all times. The best way is to put the card in your bag or wallet as soon as you get it and then forget about it until you need it.
The EHIC is currently accepted by EU states Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Southern Cyprus, Czeck Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, as well as non-EU countries Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
Bear in mind that while the European Health Insurance Card provides valuable protection, it is not a replacement for travel insurance. It is highly recommended that ensure you have both in order to reduce the large medical bills, delays in treatment and not to mention saving yourself a large deal of stress in the event of a medical emergency.
You will pay the exact same as an existing resident of the country you a visiting, so if they are expected to pay for their medical treatment, then you will be too.
If you’ve registered for you EHIC but the card doesn’t arrive before you’re set to leave on your European trip, then be sure to call the NHS Overseas Healthcare tea, and they’ll advise you what you need to do.