Heading away on holiday is an exciting time, but it’s important to cover all bases in terms of your health at the same time. Of course, we hope that nothing adverse ever occurs whilst you’re jetting off for your annual two weeks in the sun, or a week skiing somewhere glittering, but this is life, and things can and do happen occasionally.
Always be prepared!
You will no doubt know the vital importance of having an up to date, valid, and comprehensive travel insurance policy for any travel you undertake, but do you have a EHIC card as well?
If you don’t, it’s time to get one.
The EHIC card, or European Health Insurance Card, to give it its formal name, replaced the old E111 many years ago, and gives holders the right to access state healthcare during their holiday in another country which is part of the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland. Stays can only be of a temporary nature, i.e. a holiday, however holding this card will mean that if you need to be admitted to hospital for treatment, you won’t have to worry about covering the cost, thanks to a reciprocal agreement between the countries.
Another perk is the fact that pre-existing medical conditions are covered under this arrangement, provided you can prove that you didn’t travel to the country specifically to seek treatment at a reduced cost; routine maternity care is also under this arrangement, but again, you need to show that you didn’t travel with the intention to give birth.
All of this gives peace of mind when travelling, so if you are eligible then it’s certainly a must do to head online and order your free card, or by remembering to renew EHIC card ahead of time. Be sure to check out what exactly is covered in each country, as this does vary, but overall, peace of mind is guaranteed.
One word of warning however – routine travel insurance should not be replaced by having a EHIC! Travel insurance covers many other things which a EHIC card doesn’t, e.g. lost or stolen belongings or cancellation for instance. In addition, the EHIC card is not valid on cruises, so regular travel insurance is a must if this is your type of holiday.
Of course, avoiding illness in the first place wherever possible should always be done, so remember sun safety, don’t go gung-ho with alcohol, and always remember to obtain enough of your regular medications from your doctor prior to your departure date, travelling with them in your hand luggage, in the marked boxes.
Health is not something which should ever be placed on the back burner, and when a EHIC is so easy to obtain, as well as being totally free, you would be a fool not to make sure this little piece of plastic is safety stored with your passport on departure.