What Medical Cover Is Provided By The EHIC?
No one likes to think about becoming unwell or injuring themselves whilst they are away on holiday. However, it’s important to know if you are covered for lowered medical fees in case you do need medical care while you’re away. It’s in the interest of your own health, and the health of your family members, to make sure that you have checked your EHIC card is in date before travelling and educated yourself about how and when you can use the card.
A range of treatments are covered by a valid EHIC card. In general, your EHIC card is intended to be used for emergency medical treatment. This includes injuries which occur from falling over or participating in adventure activities and falling ill, whether it is something relatively minor such as food poisoning or a more serious, previously undetected condition. If you become ill or are injured while you are away and you would consider going to the hospital or GP at home, then you will typically be covered for treatment by your EHIC card. If in doubt, you can contact the NHS to find out more.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition or a chronic health condition, you can also receive any required treatment for this while you are abroad. This is as long as you haven’t travelled specifically for healthcare treatment; if you’ve travelled specifically to take advantage of lower costs, or different treatment options, this isn’t accepted as a valid reason to use your EHIC card. In general, it’s expected that you’ll only use your EHIC card or have medical treatment while you’re abroad to ensure you are healthy until you can return.
You aren’t covered by your EHIC card if you choose to go abroad specifically give birth. However, if you are pregnant and require routine maternity care, which isn’t due to an accident or illness, this is covered through your EHIC card. In addition, if the birth happens unexpectedly early your EHIC card will cover you and your baby for all treatment required to ensure both are healthy before returning home.
Private medical treatment isn’t covered by the EHIC card, so it’s important to make sure that you aren’t taken to a private medical facility if you use public transport or an ambulance to get to hospital.
Remember, your EHIC card shouldn’t be used as an alternative to medical insurance as many additional costs, such as being rescued from a mountain at a ski resort, are not covered by the card but will be covered by appropriate medical insurance.
Each country which accepts the EHIC card has slight variations on the rules surrounding which treatments they do and do not accept. So, it’s always a good idea to read up on the rules for medical treatment in your holiday destination before you travel. You can find the detailed information for each country provided by the NHS online. This way, in the unlikely event of an emergency, you will be able to act quickly with a clear head.