Prepared For Your Summer Break
With This Must Have Document

Every year thousands of tourists run up high and unexpected medical bills when they fall ill or suffer an injury while travelling through Europe. This is why whenever you travel to a European country you should always make sure you have a valid European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC). But what is a European Health Insurance Card?

European Health Insurance Cards are conveniently the same shape and size as a credit card and provides the holder with entitlement to medical treatment in any European country that participates in the EHIC scheme. Whenever you travel within the European Economic Area you have access to the same level of healthcare as any normal resident of that country. The EEA is built up of the members of EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Your EHIC will cover in any event that you need medical care should you fall ill while away, or for any pre-existing medical conditions. You would also be covered for routine maternity care as long as youíre not travelling abroad specifically to receive care or with the intention of giving birth. The card will cover until you return to the UK and in the majority of circumstances the healthcare will be free.

British people become increasingly familiar and reliant on the NHS specifically because it is free. Sadly, not all European countries have a healthcare like the UKís, which means that in the instance you use their healthcare you may be required to make a small contribution towards your treatment. There are also some EEA countries that donít have any state provided healthcare and as a result your EHIC wonít provide any protection. Check the NHS website for detailed information on European countries that participate in the EHIC.

Regardless of the size of your family, everybody needs their own individual card, therefore your children will not be covered by yours. Parents or guardians need to apply for EHICís on behalf of anybody under the age of 16, you can also apply up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education. Provided you have the necessary information you can also apply on behalf of your spouse or partner. All you need is the full name, date of birth and National Insurance number for every member of the family you are planning to apply for.

It is also important to note that an EHIC does not provide al alternative to travel insurance and will not cover any private healthcare costs. This means it will not cover ski resort mountain rescue, flying an individual back to the UK and is also not valid on cruises. You also wouldnít be covered in event of crime and lost or stolen property. For this reason it is vitally essential they you have an EHIC and a travel insurance policy both in place before you travel. Some insurance companies insist on their members having an EHIC and many will waive the excess for individuals who hold them.