Whether you are travelling overseas for either business or pleasure, you could be eligible to receive medical care at a reduced cost or even, in some cases, completely free of charge. This is all thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The EHIC card covers medical treatment, including pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care, providing you haven’t travelled somewhere for the specific reason to give birth. It basically acts as a cover for your medical treatment until you return to the United Kingdom. Different rules may apply if you are moving abroad permanently or intending on intentionally having medical treatments abroad.
The great thing about the EHIC card it that it won’t cost you a penny and it means you will be provided and have access to state-provided healthcare in any nation within the EEA (European Economic Area), including Switzerland. Switzerland is a unique inclusion in that it doesn’t belong to the RU nor the EEA but it does belong to the single market; therefore, Swiss citizens enjoy the same benefits as other EEA nationals, so your EHIC card can be used in Switzerland too.
What countries are included in the EU?
The EU nations where you are able to use your EHIC card are:
- Czech Republic
- Netherlands (Holland)
- Portugal – and Madeira
Be aware that there are some countries within Europe which will not accept the EHIC card so make sure you have adequate travel insurance. These include:
- The Isle of Man
- The Channel Islands
- San Marino
- Vatican City
- San Marino
It’s also important to remember that each country in the EEA has its own guidance on how you can access their healthcare system under the EHIC and the process of refunds. It’s therefore important that you check these arrangements before you visit this country for travel. Also, remember that an EHIC card is not a replacement for travel insurance. Adequate travel insurance is still recommended.