Where Can I Use My EHIC Card?
When you’re travelling or planning a trip it’s important to know exactly where your EHIC card is valid. An EHIC card covers you for state provided medical treatment in a medical emergency and for routine medical care for pre-existing conditions. It can only be used in European countries which are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There are a total of 27 EU countries which accept the EHIC card, a full list can be found online but popular holiday destinations, such as France, Germany, Greece and Italy, are included.
Switzerland is something on an exception as it is not part of the EU or the EEA but it still accepts the EHIC card as it is part of the single market. Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein are also part of the EEA which means that in most instances your EHIC card will be accepted in these countries as well.
Despite many countries being accepting of the EHIC card, there are some countries which are part of Europe but won’t accept the card. This means that you will have to pay the full cost of medical treatment while you are in the following countries:
- The Channel Islands (including Sark, Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney)
- The Isle of Man
- San Marino
- Vatican City
It goes without say that if you’re travelling outside of the EU, you won’t be able to use your EHIC card. UK residents travelling in Europe are particularly fortunate to have access to this service because when travelling to other parts of the world, such as America or Australia, tourists will have to rely upon having comprehensive medical insurance cover to reimburse them for the cost of any medical treatment they require. In addition, fees for medical treatment are notoriously high in other parts of the world in comparison with Europe. Of course, this depends on the length and type of treatment required.
You can’t use your EHIC card in private medical facilities and it won’t cover the cost of some associated medical costs. An example of such a cost which isn’t covered by your EHIC card is mountain rescue in a ski resort or being flown back to the UK due to poor health. You will be required to pay for any additional costs which occur to you outside of medical treatment which is necessary for your health before you return home. This is why it’s a good idea to have appropriate insurance as well as carrying your EHIC card with you on holiday.
Remember, in some countries the EHIC card won’t make you exempt from payment for medical treatment completely. If you are visiting a country where residents are expected to partially pay for their own medical treatment, your EHIC card will grant you the ability to be treated in the same way as residents. This means that you might receive a bill for part-payment of medical treatment. Without a valid EHIC card you’ll be required to pay the full cost.