Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Apr 2013
Why is my European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) not sufficient?
Travel insurance offers much more security than the EHIC alone.
Response by Dr K Shastri

If you have the EHIC, you’ll receive the same state-provided medical care as the citizens of the country you’re visiting; if they pay for something then you’ll also be charged for it.

In the EU, each country’s health system is different and may not include all the things you would expect to get free from the NHS. The EHIC may not cover fees to see a GP (for example, visitors seeking treatment must pay €21 to see a GP in France).  In some countries you may be expected to make a financial contribution to your hospital care, pay the costs of the ambulance and so on. 

You must ensure you are treated by an EU state health-care provider when using the EHIC. This may not be case if you ask a hotel or a tour company representative for medical help, as many have arrangements with private clinics to direct customers to their services. The EHIC excludes any treatment in a private clinic.

The EHIC also doesn’t provide for emergency repatriation to the UK.  

The EHIC will not cover you to get home.
Response by Fiona Macrae

If you fall ill, you may not be able to return on the original flights you’d booked, a doctor may need to accompany you on the flight and you might need to book more than one seat. All this will cost a substantial amount of money, which a travel insurance policy could cover.

You will also not have the other benefits of a travel policy such as cancellation, baggage cover, legal, public liability and personal accident cover. 

Please note the EHIC is not accepted in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Northern Cyprus or Turkey - many people mistakenly think that it is.