Millions of us have them, but your EHIC could end up costing you thousands of pounds if you’re not really careful – this is why and what to watch for.
As millions of holidaymakers jet off to European destinations for their fortnight in the sun many risk a big financial shock. There is lots of confusion over the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) as 50% of Brits think it entitles them to free medical treatment, 7% think it will get them home from abroad and 5% believe it extends to anywhere in the world.
Research from Gocompare paints a shocking picture of the lack of understanding on what the EHIC is and what it entitles travellers to – despite it being around for 10 years.
While the EHIC is one of the most useful bits of plastic you can pack for a European break, it is not a replacement for travel insurance you need both.
The benefits of the card are limited. It gives access to medical care, but only at the same level as locals in the EU country you are visiting.
While some care can be free, or at a reduced cost, many countries charge for medical treatment as they don’t have a system like our free NHS.
The EHIC is free to most UK residents – Channel Islands and Isle of Man residents are not eligible for one – and is essential for travel to all 27 European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
It is not accepted in Turkey or elsewhere around the world. The card does not entitle the holder to be flown home in the case of an emergency.
If you don’t have travel insurance you will have to cough up the cost of being repatriated – there is no help from the Government or any other organisation – which can cost tens of thousands of pounds.
The word insurance in the name is the key to much of the confusion as those jetting off mistakenly believe it is like a travel insurance policy.
I’ve got a simple suggestion to put a stop to all this confusion. Why not change the name to the European Health Access Card (EHAC).
It then does exactly what it says on the tin – gives access to medical care and should be in everyone’s wallet, along with details of their travel insurance cover. Just a thought!
Source:- Mirror, 22/7/15