What is Covered by My EHIC?
Almost everyone knows what EHIC is and what it stands for. Perhaps, you may even know its primary objective. But, like many European Health Insurance Card-holders, you may not be fully cognizant of the things that are covered by the EHIC and those that are not. If this is the case, it could also mean that you are essentially being covered by two separate systems for exactly the same kind of healthcare condition – one covered by EHIC and one covered by a private health insurance company. It is therefore, important for you to understand what is covered by EHIC so you will be able to purchase a policy that covers only those that are not covered by EHIC. This way, you maximize your coverage while also minimizing unnecessary costs.
The main point to understand about the European Health Insurance Card is that it provides access to the healthcare system that is funded or covered by the governments of the countries of the European Economic Area with the inclusion of Switzerland. This is a crucial point to understand such that treatments or health services provided by non-state entities – private medical practitioners and healthcare institutions – are not covered by EHIC. As such, in these cases, you will need your personal or private insurance policy. Additionally, the specific provisions of the EHIC may depend from one country to the next simply because it is state-based. This means that whatever health policies and programs are existing in a particular EU or EFTA country, these are what will be essentially covered.
For instance, some countries provide medical treatments for certain conditions free of charge while other countries may charge you a fee for the same medical treatment. What the EHIC does is that it provides you access to the existing healthcare program of the country. Whatever healthcare services the nationals or citizens in that country are receiving from their government, you are also entitled to receive the same. If they get it for free, then you can be assured of receiving it free of charge. If there’s a fee required, then you will be paying as well, but at a significantly lower price. Furthermore, whatever you pay in the procurement of these state-funded services, you also get to reimburse them.
EHIC essentially covers all healthcare services and medical treatments that are necessary to manage illnesses or accident-related injuries while you are in the host country either as a holiday vacationer, a businessman on a trip, or as a social visitor. This coverage also extends well into the management of pre-existing health conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, just to name a few. It also covers routine maternal care as well as the management of obstetric emergencies such as premature labor and delivery.
However, there is a very specific criteria for the coverage of EHIC for such conditions. Your visit to the host country should not be to specifically seek medical treatment as what usually happens in medical tourism. This essentially means that if your condition is evaluated to be non-urgent, then you cannot expect EHIC to cover this. What it does cover are necessary treatments or treatments that cannot be postponed because doing so can threaten the health and the life of the patient. Moreover, if your purpose in visiting the country is to give birth to your child, then EHIC will not cover this, too.
Thus, whatever is not covered by EHIC should be covered by a private health insurance. These typically include treatments obtained from private practitioners and facilities as well as countries that are not member nations of either EFTA or the EU.
Now, understand that EHIC only covers health-related services and does not cover auxiliary services which can be also related to health. For example, figuring in an accident in a ski resort that necessitates the activation of a mountain rescue is not covered by EHIC. Likewise, repatriation costs are also not covered by EHIC. Lost baggage or even damaged personal belongings while on a holiday are also not covered. In these instances, a comprehensive travel insurance is needed.
The European Health Insurance Card can save you tons of money for healthcare services that are otherwise free or affordably priced. Call MyEHIC if you want to know more about EHIC and how you can truly make the most of your travels worry-free.