Millions of EHIC cards to expire this year
Holidaymakers are being urged to check their European Health Insurance Cards, after it was revealed that a staggering 4.5 million cards are believed to expire at some point this year.
The European Health Insurance cards (EHIC), which were introduced in 2006 as the replacement for the E111 card, have become a true essential for travellers heading abroad as they ensure the holder can benefit from the same level of state medical care as the residents of the country they visit. The card is eligible in all 27 countries within the European Union, as well as Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
While the cards do not mean that you are able to receive completely free medical care, having one in your wallet could ensure that you avoid paying an excess should you need to claim on your single trip travel insurance.
As the European Health Insurance Cards are only eligible for five years, it’s highly likely that you will have to consider renewing yours in the future. While they are free to almost all UK residents, the public have been urged to keep an eye out for counterfeit EHIC websites that advertise fast-track applications for a one-off fee.
Cover still unclear for many
There is still much confusion surrounding the cards, with 54 per cent of holidaymakers under the impression that it entitles them to free medical care across Europe, while a further six per cent believe it covers medical expenses all around the world. One in ten people also believe that the EHIC will cover the cost for people to be flown home in an air ambulance for free, the reality being that medical repatriation can only be offered through your travel insurance.
Although the EHIC cards do offer peace of mind, it is still recommended to purchase tailored medical travel insurance packages from a reputable provider for cover against serious accidents and emergency repatriation.
If you need to renew your EHIC click here to fill in the official government application form.