It is mandatory for all the UK residents to have the European Health Card if they are travelling to any country in Europe. This card gives travellers the access to state offered healthcare in case their holidays turn for the worst. However, it is important to note that healthcare services are available to travellers to only those countries that are designated as in the EES or European Economic Area.
Countries Covered Under EHIC Scheme
The healthcare systems in all the countries are not the same and therefore you might expect not being covered for almost everything that is free of cost. You might be given the option of choosing either public or private healthcare. For avoiding expensive medical costs it is always a good idea to go for state provided healthcare. You must also ensure presenting your health insurance cars prior to treatment. The countries included in the EHIC scheme are:
- Czech Republic
- Republic of Ireland
- The Netherlands
There are a number of rules that have been set forth for individuals who need to use their European Health Card for medical treatment during their visit abroad. Different types of accidents are duly covered under EHIC but you might not be allowed to travel abroad and use the card for receiving some kind of special medical treatment. It is also important to note that renal dialysis, maternity care and systems of chronic or pre-existing conditions cropping up during your stay abroad are covered by EHIC. To be very brief, you will be receiving similar treatment to that available to the citizen of the country you have visited. However, this does not mean that you will not have to pay a single penny. There are certain charges that you might have to pay. The charges that you pay can get reimbursed once you return to the UK. For this, it is necessary that you keep all the documents and receipts carefully as you might need them for applying for reimbursement.
How to Apply for EHIC?
Applying for the European Health Card is absolutely free. The card comes with a validity of five years. It is also important to note that this card does not come as an alternative to your travel insurance. The card will not cover your private medical expenditures or cost of things like rescue from the mountains in ski resorts. The card also does not cover stolen or lost property and flight-related issues. Therefore, it is important for you to possess a valid travel insurance plan along with your EHIC.
EHIC offers adequate cover to holidaymakers travelling to Europe without travel cover but it cannot be used as a replacement to your travel insurance.