Travellers confused about the EHIC


Many travellers use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling to other European countries. However, according to a recent poll by, it turns out that many of these travellers are actually confused by what the EHIC really is.

The EHIC entitles the bearer to receive the same level of state medical care as other nationals would receive in that country, as long as the country is in the European Economic Area (EEA). This may mean that they end up receiving free medical care, or it may mean that they receive low-cost care.

However, state care can vary depending on where the traveller is heading. In some cases you may have to pay for treatment before getting some of it reimbursed at a later date, and some countries may charge you to stay in a hospital overnight.

The poll was carried out on 2,000 people, and the results showed that:

Another important issue is that of repatriation. A total of 9% of respondents thought that medical transport back to the UK would be covered by the EHIC, whereas in fact no cover is provided. If you end up getting badly injured abroad then you could find yourself getting stuck if you cannot afford the transport back which could cost many thousands of pounds to arrange.

Although the EHIC is useful to have, and can even sometimes mean that your travel insurance firm will waive the excess if you use it abroad, it is no substitute for full travel insurance, wherever you end up travelling.


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