European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
What is the EHIC?The EHIC entitles you to reduced cost (or sometimes free) healthcare where treatment becomes necessary during a temporary visit to other countries of the European Economic Area or Switzerland. The card is only valid for treatment offered under the state healthcare schemes operating in these countries; it gives you access to treatment under the same terms as the people that live in the country you are visiting.
The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance. Since it may not cover all health costs and never covers repatriation costs, loss of possessions, trip cancellation, personal liability and a number of other sections from a standard travel insurance program, you are advised to take out a travel insurance policy in addition to the EHIC. The EHIC does not cover situations where patients go abroad, in order to be treated in hospitals overseas, your Primary Care Trust or Local Health Board can advise further about this.
Further information, including a full list of countries covered along with details of their 'health systems' can be found on line at www.nhs.uk/healthcareabroad.