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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - a user's guide


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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - a user's guide

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For many years now EU citizens have been able to get public health insurance cover in all member states.

Matthew in Manchester contacted us to find out more. He asked: “I plan to go skiing in France. I have heard about a European health insurance card (EHIC). What is it for exactly?”

Euronews’ Toks Salako explains how the system works: “This card facilitates healthcare services during a trip or a temporary stay in one of the countries of the European Union, plus Switzerland, Norway, Island and Lichtenstein.

“The card gives you access to medical treatment from state healthcare providers, under the same conditions as people insured in that country. Be aware that each country’s healthcare system is different. Services that cost you nothing at home might not be free in another country.

“This card is personal and free of charge. It is issued by your national health insurance provider. Be careful to apply for it well in advance. It should also be stressed that it only covers the necessary and “unexpected” care. It does not cover your costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment.

“And it must also be underlined that it is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any medical private healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, or being flown back to your country.

“For more information about what is covered in each country, a specific smartphone app is available”.

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