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Five Questions About: The EHIC card


What's that, something you get after drinking too quickly?

Be sensible. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to get state healthcare at a reduced cost, or for free, while away from home in Europe. It covers any medical treatment you need to help you continue your stay as planned, including treatment for pre-existing conditions and maternity care.

Who is eligible for it?

Any permanent resident of a European Economic Area country aged 16 or over can get an EHIC. British residents should go to ehic.org.uk.

How much does it cost?

It's free so don't get hoodwinked by unscrupulous websites or organisations trying to flog it to you. However, every family member needs a separate card, which is valid for up to five years.

Are there any restrictions on the card?

It won't cover you if you're travelling for medical treatment, and it doesn't cover private medical healthcare or costs like mountain rescue if you're injured skiing. Nor will it cover the cost of repatriation to the UK.

So I still need insurance?

Yes – if you want cover for lost or stolen property, or any problems you might have abroad.