European Health Insurance Card fiction and fact

Published:  11 Apr at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Expats from EU member states as well as travellers may well be aware of the benefits of the EHIC, but there’s more confusion over its use nowadays than at any time in its 10-year history.

A recent survey revealed that over 50 per cent of those travelling with the card believed that it gives free emergency healthcare in any world destination. Many also believe that there’s no need to purchase travel insurance if you’re carrying the card.

Myths about the use of the card can result in a medical emergency abroad becoming a life-threatening crisis, and it’s essential that both travellers and expats understand its limits. For example, 10 percent of those surveyed wrongly believed that the card would cover the cost of an emergency medivac flight – it doesn’t, nor does it cover free heathcare worldwide.

The original intention of the card was to provide standard healthcare in emergencies to expats and travellers within the European Union. At present, around 10 per cent of Britons carrying the card have been able to claim either free or low cost medical care whilst overseas, but four per cent have been refused treatment, mostly by Spanish hospitals.

Acceptance of the card now seems to depend on the hospital involved and the country in which it is located. It was never intended to replace travel insurance or expat overseas health policies, although the card should be carried as a number of medical insurers will not pay out for the type of treatment it covers.

Countries covered by the EHIC for the provision of low-cost or free health care include EU member states and the EEA states of Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. Although Switzerland is not an EU member state, the card is accepted at its medical facilities.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive