As Easter gets closer and people start to think about going on holiday, Brits expecting visitors are asked to remind their friends and family from the EU to carry an EHIC in case they need NHS treatment.
The European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, offers travellers access to reduced-cost medical treatment. Unless visitors carry a valid EHIC they are liable to be charged for any immediate, necessary medical treatment they receive. Without an EHIC, the cost of an accident on holiday could spiral out of control and may end up costing thousands of pounds
The EHIC is completely free and only takes minutes to apply for. To apply or renew go to www.ehic.org.uk.
In 2008, nearly 24 million people from Europe visited the UK. With a similar number expected this year, the Department of Health is asking all those with loved ones travelling to the UK to urge them apply for or renew their EHIC before they travel.
Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister said:
“The European Health Insurance Card gives travellers access to reduced-cost medical treatment. It’s important to remind friends and family to bring their EHIC when they visit at Easter. It’s also a good opportunity to check your own EHIC is still in date. An EHIC card is free and easy to apply for and can prevent EU citizens who are travelling in the EU from being hit with a large medical bill should they need immediate treatment when they are on holiday.”
James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, the national tourist board, said:
“We want to make sure everyone visiting England has a great experience and an enjoyable stay here. As part of the practical travel information we offer, and to ensure travellers have a stress-free trip, we are asking all those with friends and family planning to visit from Europe, to remind them to apply for and pack their EHIC before they leave home.
“It’s very easy to apply for or renew an EHIC. It can be done online or over the phone and it only takes a few days to arrive. With so many people expecting visitors not only over Easter but the coming summer season, now is the ideal time to urge them to apply.”
An EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance as it does not cover all medical costs, repatriation or other costs such as baggage and cancellation cover. Visitors to the UK, and UK visitors to the rest of the EU, must have both an EHIC and travel insurance to be fully covered during their trip.