What the EHIC actually covers in various countries


We’ve said if before – the EHIC is not a substitution for travel insurance when you’re going overseas. That being said, your European Health Insurance Card is crucial to have, and having one with you means that other member state countries are supposed to treat you the same as if you were a resident of that country.

But just what does that mean? State healthcare varies from country to country. So here’s our handy guide as to what the EHIC covers in various countries commonly visited by British citizens.

EHIC in Spain

In Spain, an EHIC will give you access to any state medical treatment deemed medically necessary. It won’t cover private treatment or cosmetic treatments. But if you’re admitted to hospital during your stay, any treatment necessary to treat your condition will be covered.

EHIC in France

France adopts a policy similar to Spain in that treatment deemed necessary is covered. However, things are slightly different in France because care and medication are not free at the point of delivery. French citizens pay for treatment and get a reimbursement up to a certain proportion later on. As the EHIC effectively entitles you to the same treatment that a citizen of France would get, it will be the same for you too.

EHIC in Germany

In Germany, you are likely to be asked to pay for your treatment up front and claim a refund on return to the UK. Again, however, all medically necessary treatment will be reimbursed. The upfront payment is likely to be around 10 Euros.

EHIC in Italy

An SSN registered doctor should treat you without charge when you present your EHIC.

EHIC in Ireland

Should you require any treatment, a public doctor or hospital will treat you without charge upon presentation of your EHIC.

EHIC in Portugal

Citizens of Portugal get free point of delivery care with all public doctors, dentists and hospitals. As such, EHIC card holders are entitled to the same when presenting their card.

The above will apply whether you’re on holiday, on a temporary stay or visiting for work, and bear in mind that you will have to present your actual EHIC card – simply being an EEA country resident isn’t enough. If you still need to get one, you can apply for your EHIC here today.

Photo: Plane wing by williamson licensed under Creative commons 2