Health Insurance: make sure you are covered.
As Summer gives way to Autumn and people are tempted to enjoy a last minute holiday or as Christmas approaches and we make plans to visit family and friends abroad remember to make sure that as well as your passport being up to date that you are insured for health care abroad.
If you are travelling within the European Union then you may be eligible to apply for a European Health Insurance Card. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing health care then ensuring you have this could mean that (depending upon which European country you are visiting) you may be able to receive free or reduced cost health care. It is particularly valuable as it will cover you for pre-existing conditions.
It is an easy application process and we advise people to go through the Government websites and not the commercial ones (some of which look very 'official') which make charge for the service. It is a very simple process and can be completed here.
There have been incidences where people have required treatment abroad and faced quite considerable bills for this treatment after they have returned home. If this happens it is unlikely that charges can be recovered, that is not to say that people should not apply to be re-imbursed but by far the best way to ensure that you are not placed in this position is to take out health insurance when travelling abroad and if you do travel regularly in Europe then apply for a EHIC.
We would add that even with an EHIC you really do need travel insurance which provides the full range of cover for things like mountain rescue at ski resorts, flights back to the UK or lost and stolen property. An EHIC is not an alternative to insurance but some insurers will insist that you carry an EHIC and many will waive the excess if you have one.