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On your bike in Europe? Make sure you have an EHIC

I am off to The Netherlands on a cycling trip, so along with checking out the bikes and the trailer board for the car and buying some waterproofs! I am making sure each of us has their own in date EHIC. Did you know that unlike the old E111 which was valid for a whole family, everyone needs a valid EHIC, even the baby!

If you are reading this it is probably because you need specialist travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions so do you need an EHIC too?

Well if you are travelling like me within the EU then yes you do. So what does the EHIC actually cover and how do you use it? Most countries in Europe just like us in the UK have two levels of healthcare, private and public. The public facilities are generally well equipped and staffed to cover medical emergencies of all types while the private ones are more geared up for pre-planned or pre-booked elective treatment. If you have an existing condition, maybe diabetes or asthma or cancer then it is important that you have access to immediate treatment in an emergency which is free at the point of provision. Presentation of your EHIC card at the accident and emergency department of a public hospital anywhere in the EU will guarantee you this.

All emergency treatment will be free. You may still have to pay for any prescribed medications just like here in the UK. So why do you still need the travel insurance for medical conditions? Because you may need to change your travel plans to come home early or alternatively you may have to stay a while longer before you are well enough to come home. The EHIC will not pay for new flights or a medical escort, neither will the British Consul, however critical the emergency, these expenses will be your responsibility and if you need an Air Ambulance you could be looking at many thousands of pounds.

So before you get on that ferry or plane, go to the Post Office or go on-line, get that EHIC, its free of charge and then get the holiday insurance for pre-existing medical conditions as well so your family are fully protected.

Thanks to Tricia Pearson-Tietema our Head of Medical Underwriting for today’s blog.

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