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U-talk - the European Health Insurance Card

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U-talk - the European Health Insurance Card


The summer holiday season is almost upon us and many will be taking to the roads, seas and skies around Europe. But what happens if illness or accident strikes us when on holiday? Fortunately, the EU has thought of this.

“Hello, my name is Vincent, from Alpe d’Huez in France. I’m going to Euro 2012 in Poland. I have heard that there is a European health insurance card which covers treatment costs in case of an accident in Poland. How can I get one and how much does it cost?”

The answer comes from Europe Direct’s Senior Communication Officer Malgorzata Kurowska.

“Under EU rules on social security coordination, the European Health Insurance Card enables you to get public sector healthcare in the country where you travelled to, in case of an accident. You should get the card from your health insurer before leaving home.

“The European Health Insurance Card covers the holder for short stays in any of the 27 EU countries, as well Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, for example when you go on holiday, a business trip or for studies.

“It is not an additional health insurance, but it’s the proof that you are insured, that you have healthcare coverage in any of these countries.

“The card is free of charge and should be issued by your own health insurer. In some countries the European Health Insurance Card is combined with the national health card. In other countries, you need to apply for it separately.

“The European Health Insurance Card doesn’t always exempt you from paying. It simply guarantees that you will be treated in the same way as people insured in the country where you go to. Therefore, depending on the rules in that country, you may have to pay.

“If you have to pay for unexpected treatment abroad, you should claim reimbursement in that country. If you are unable to do so during your stay, you can also claim the expenses in the country where you are insured on your return.”

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