Travel for Less Using Your European Health Insurance Card

Travelling abroad can cost thousands of pounds if things were to go wrong. When you go on holiday in Europe, unfortunately there are times where you will be required to receive medical treatment.

As an EU citizen, and in the case of health cover for temporary stays, you are entitled to all medical treatment that is absolutely necessary until you return to the UK. To prepare yourself, in case you fall ill or get involved in an accident while abroad, you should always carry a European Health Insurance Card.

A European Health Card acts as evidence to prove that you are insured in an EU country and gives you access to state provided health care at a reduced cost or for free depending on the European country which you are temporarily staying at. According to the Department of Health, over 27 million people have a European Health Insurance Card. One in ten UK adults have used a European Health Insurance Card while abroad to get medical treatment free or at a reduced cost.

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Not having a European Health Insurance Card, or carrying an expired card, strips you of these privileges and can greatly increase costs that you have to pay out to receive the healthcare which you require. There are instances of people, who didn’t have a European Health Insurance Card, who have had to pay full medical bills, running in to tens of thousands of pounds, directly upfront as a result of this.

To receive a European Health Insurance Card, or to simply renew an expired card, you can do so online. After your application has been processed, you can expect the card to arrive by post between three and ten working days. It is advisable to follow the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ‘Know Before You Go” campaign by thoroughly researching your destination’s healthcare system as each healthcare system varies depending on which one you plan on spending your holiday at. If you lose your card while abroad, or if it gets stolen, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (or PRC for short) to act as a replacement for the missing European Health Insurance Card.

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