Whether you are planning a weekend getaway, a business trip or an extended stay in the member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) should be at the top of your must-have list. The card provides peace of mind and access to essential medical services during your visit, ensuring that unforeseen illnesses or accidents don’t turn into financial catastrophes. In this article, we will explore the reasons why obtaining an EHIC is worth the small amount of time and effort required.
1. Access to Free or Reduced-Cost Medical Care
The primary reason for obtaining an EHIC is to take advantage of free or reduced-cost medical treatment in the EEA countries and Switzerland. The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary during your trip, including treatment for chronic or pre-existing medical conditions as well as routine maternity care, provided that you are not visiting the countries specifically for medical treatments.
With an EHIC, you will be entitled to receive medical treatment on the same terms as residents of the country you are visiting, which means you may have access to public health care services either for free or at a significantly reduced cost.
2. Simplified Documentation Process
In case you require medical assistance while traveling within EEA countries and Switzerland, having an EHIC simplifies the documentation process. Instead of dealing with signing multiple agreements, filling out forms, providing proof of insurance from your home country, and spending time on bureaucratic procedures when you need urgent medical attention, presenting a valid EHIC entitles you to immediate treatment on similar terms as local citizens.
Moreover, having received any free or reduced-cost treatments covered by your EHIC eliminates the need to claim reimbursement from your travel insurance company when returning home.
3. Peace of Mind for You and Your Family
An EHIC can provide peace of mind for you and your family while exploring Europe’s beautiful countries. Accidents happen – and if they do occur while abroad, knowing that essential medical care is accessible without breaking the bank can relieve stress and worry.
Additionally, having an EHIC allows parents to feel reassured that their children will have access to quality health care services in case of emergencies or sudden illness.
4. Possibility of Saving Money on Travel Insurance
If you have an EHIC card, some travel insurance policies may waive their standard excess payment – this is a payment made towards any claim raised on your policy. As such, it can potentially lower your overall travel insurance costs due to having an EHIC.
5. Periodical Coverage Extension
Once obtained, an EHIC remains valid for five years from its issue date. This means that if you travel frequently within Europe over those years, acquiring just one card proves incredibly efficient and advantageous for covering multiple visits to different European destinations.
It’s important to note that an EHIC should not be seen as a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance; it does not cover situations such as repatriation costs or treatments in private clinics not covered by public health services. However, it serves as a valuable tool in addition to travel insurance coverage.
In summary, having a European Health Insurance Card ensures access to essential healthcare while traveling throughout EEA countries and Switzerland. By offering free or reduced-cost medical treatment under similar terms as local residents during emergencies or unexpected illness episodes, it saves both time and money while providing travelers with increased security knowing they are protected during their overseas adventures.
Applying for an EHIC is simple – fill out an online application form through your national health system portal (e.g., NHS for UK citizens). Don’t leave home without one!