If I Am Charged For Medical Treatment Will I Be Refunded?
In some circumstances, you will be able to claim a refund if you’re charged for medical treatment abroad. However, this will vary depending on the following factors: whether you travelled specifically for the treatment or it was a medical emergency; whether or not you had an EHIC card and travel insurance and where you received the medical treatment you had.
If you received emergency treatment, or unexpected routine treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition, your EHIC card will generally entitle you to be treated in the same way as residents. This means that if you are on holiday in a country where residents typically pay for a proportion of their medical treatment, you will be expected to pay the same amount. The rules in each European Economic Area (EEA) country vary but this information is freely available on the NHS website.
If you pay money for your treatment upfront, you won’t be able to claim a refund for this. So, always remember to produce your EHIC card as soon as you arrive at the hospital or doctor’s surgery where you require treatment. Make sure you know exactly what you are paying for when you are charged, if in doubt get in touch with the National Administrator of the country you are currently in for advice or further information. The staff at the hospital should also be accommodating towards you, so don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure. It’s better to query something at the time, instead of when you return home and the money has already been deducted from you.
In some instances, you will be able to be refunded for medical treatment you pay for. However, this is only carried out on the same terms as residents of the country where you are receiving treatment. If you have a travel insurance policy which covers medical treatment, you may also be able to receive reimbursement from your provider.
Remember, not all medical treatment is covered by your EHIC card. If you have travelled abroad specifically for treatment, or to give birth, your EHIC card won’t cover the cost of your medical expenses. Only emergency or unexpected treatment, for example if you are pregnant and the birth happens early, is covered by your EHIC.
If you don’t have an EHIC card, you are at risk of expensive medical fees. You may be able to claim a refund for this amount if you have got adequate travel insurance. If you are charged for medical treatment and have travel insurance, you will only be refunded for the cost of treatment in your home country. So, if treatment was considerably more expensive abroad you might be left out of pocket. You will also only be refunded for treatments which you are entitled to receive at home. It’s not worth the risk- always make sure you travel with an up-to-date EHIC.