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What is the purpose of an EHIC Card?

Holidaymakers overestimate the benefits of the EHIC card

Many brits travelling in Europe think that the European Health Insurance Card, (the EHIC) allows them to receive free medical treatment as if they were at home in the UK. Unfortunately that’s not actually the case... Whilst these cards can certainly help reduce medical costs and occasionally offer users access to free medical health care, they only offer access to what a ‘local resident’ would have.Basically EHIC card holders are entitled to treatment at the same cost as a local citizen would be at any state-run hospital or GP in any EU country (this also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

A leading comparison engine carried out a recent survey which resulted in almost seventy percent of people thinking that the EHIC entitled them to free emergency medical care anywhere in Europe (six percent even thought this was anywhere in the world). The GoCompare survey also found six percent who saw the EHIC as an alternative to travel insurance.

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Should you get an EHIC card

The answer is most definitely yes, especially if you travel regularly, the application is free on an official government website and whilst the little bit of plastic doesn’t cover all medical expenses it can certainly help reduce the costs when a holder is travelling around Europe. The EHIC certainly complements a good travel insurance policy but certainly isn’t a replacement. Many European holiday resorts have private run clinics and hospitals nearby, not all of these will happily accept the EHIC card.

Will Brexit affect the EHIC?

Currently the EHIC service remains as is, at the time of writing there has been no announcement regards changes or a cancellation of service.

For a more complete guide to the European Health Insurance Card please take a look here.

In need of assistance?

Our medical travel insurance team are ready to provide you with assistance regarding your quote. If you would prefer to talk to an advisor to receive a quote or have a query please contact our UK based customer service team. Find out details on our contact us page.


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