Don’t forget your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)


Todays email of Martins Money Saving Expert newsletter reminded me to check our EHIC card – which fortunately is still valid but due to be renewed in a few months. (PS:  His weekly newsletter is quite useful if you want to be frugal :))

If you don’t have one make sure you get one free from the official EHIC website before you go.  This will save/minimise any costs you may incur if you require any doctor or hospital treatment.  It does NOT replace travel insurance, but it should cover the excess.  The Money Saving page linked at the start has all the information you need, but (for my purposes!) some excerpts have been copied here.

Country by country guide

 The EHIC’s usable in the EU’s 27 member states, plus a few others. Show your card before treatment, and keep any receipts. The NHS site has detailed country-by-country information on what’s covered in each, see below for a quick summary:

  • Austria Treatment will be free if the doctor’s contracted with one of Austria’s regional health insurance offices, though you’ll be charged if not. However, you can claim up to 80% of this back. See the NHS Austria page.
  • Belgium Though the majority of doctors in Belgium provide private healthcare, some offer both. You’ll have to pay for healthcare, but you may be able to claim back up to 75% of the charge. See the NHS Belgium page.
  • Bulgaria Check before making an appointment whether the doctor is registered with the National Insurance Fund. There’s a small charge to see a doctor but you may be able to get this back in the UK. See the NHS Bulgaria page.
  • Cyprus Treatment is available from doctors in state healthcare centres. It’ll cost two Euros for each visit, but you may be able to claim this back in the UK. See the NHS Cyprus page.
  • Czech Republic Make sure the doctor’s registered with the CMU. You’ll need to pay a small patient contribution, though watch out as you’ll have to pay the full cost if the doctor isn’t registered. See the NHS Czech Republic page.
  • Denmark Doctor consultations are covered, though check whether the doctor’s registered with the Danish public health service. If you’re charged, you can claim back the full amount. See the NHS Denmark page.
  • Estonia You’ll need to pay some of the fee for any medical treatment, and this includes home visits. You might be able to claim for this when you arrive back in the UK. See the NHS Estonia page.
  • Finland Medical treatment can be provided for free from the local health centre, though some KELA venues may incur charges for specialist treatment. See the NHS Finland page.
  • France Make sure the doctor or dentist is registered with France’s state healthcare provider before making an appointment. You should be able to claim back approximately 70% of the treatment fees. See the NHS France page.
  • Germany Check the doctor provides treatment under the state scheme; find a full list of registered doctors at the local ‘Krankenkasse’. There’s a fixed charge of ten Euros, though this may be refundable. See the NHS Germany page.
  • Greece See an IKA-ETAM doctor or dentist to get reduced or free treatment. Consult a private doctor and you’ll need to pay charges up front, though you can then claim them from the Greek authorities. See the NHS Greece page.
  • Hungary You’ll need to go to surgeries contracted with the OEP, though there’s a fee of HUF 600 for each visit, and HUF 1000 if it’s out of normal treatment hours. These may be refundable in the UK. See the NHS Hungary page.
  • Iceland Its health centres provide treatment from 8am to 4pm, and are in all districts of Iceland. There’s a charge of IKR 1,000, or IKR 500 if you’re on a state pension, which may be refundable in the UK. See the NHS Iceland page.
  • Ireland Visit doctors working under the Primary Care Reimbursement Service scheme to get free treatment. To find your nearest, go to your local Health Service Executive office. See the NHS Ireland page.
  • Italy Make sure the doctor’s registered with the Italian national health service, the SSN, and treatment should usually be free. Surgeries are generally open Monday – Friday, though opening times vary. See the NHS Italy page.
  • Latvia Charges apply to see a doctor, though pregnant women receiving treatment to do with their pregnancy won’t be charged. Those under 18 also avoid the fees, which may be refundable in the UK. See the NHS Latvia page.
  • Liechtenstein Visit a doctor covered by the public health scheme and you’ll pay CHF 67, or CHF 33.50 for pensioners and children. See the NHS Liechtenstein page.
  • Lithunania Visit a doctor who works with one of the territorial patient funds to get free treatment. Any private healthcare fees are sadly non-refundable. See the NHS Lithuania page.
  • Luxembourg You’ll need to pay and then claim the cash back from the CMO, the Sickness Insurance Fund for Manual Workers. Hospital stays and medicines are fully funded by the CMO. See the NHS Luxembourg page.
  • Malta Go to public health centres to see a doctor. State-provided emergency dental treatment is free, though isn’t widely available as most dentists have private practices. See the NHS Malta page.
  • Netherlands See a doctor covered by the AGIS Zorgverzekeringen scheme and treatment will normally be free. Children can also receive state-provided dental care, though others will have to pay. See the NHS Netherlands page.
  • Norway You’ll have to pay a fee. Make sure you see a doctor with a reimbursement arrangment with the NAV. Though the cost is non-refundable in Norway, you may be able to get it back in the UK. See the NHS Norway page.
  • Poland You’ll be able to visit doctors surgeries between Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm. Out of these hours a 24-hour medical service is provided by NFZ-contracted health units. See the NHS Poland page.
  • Portugal There’s no charge for state doctors, dentists or hospitals. If you need a pharmacy, you’ll find them across Portugal, open Monday – Friday. See the NHS Portugal page.
  • Romania There’s normally no charge for a medical consultation. Check the doctor, dentist, pharmacist or hospital is working with the Casa Nationala de Asiguarari de Sanatate. See the NHS Romania page.
  • Slovakia Make sure the doctor or dentist is covered by the Slovakian health insurance system. You’ll need to pay a contribution if you see a doctor, but emergency dental treatment is free. See the NHS Slovakia page.
  • Slovenia Check the doctor’s registered with the Health Insurance Institute. You may need to pay a standard contribution, though this may be refundable in the UK. See the NHS Slovenia page.
  • Spain State healthcare is free, but check they accept your EHIC card first as some hospitals and health centres also offer private healthcare. See the NHS Spain page.
  • Sweden Under 20s receive free treatment, though others will be charged between £8 – £12 per treatment. Make sure you see a doctor working under the public insurance scheme. See the NHS Sweden page.
  • Switzerland Check that the doctor’s registered with the Swiss public health service. Usually, you’ll need to pay in full for treatment and claim a refund later. See the NHS Switzerland page.

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