In case of an emergency - Healthcare in EU countries

Thursday, December 11, 2014

For all those planning a skiing holiday after Christmas or rather prefer relaxing in the sun we have tips and tricks on what to do when the holiday turns sours. Unexpected illness or accidents can happen to anyone. Best to be prepared.

Unforeseen treatment abroad - What to do?

When travelling to another EU country, whether for vacation, work or study, you are entitled to health care under the same conditions as insured citizens of said country. In case of an emergency, you can call the emergency services using the free number 112. The number is accessible anywhere in the EU.

You are entitled to medical treatment to be reimbursement (at least partly) by your health care provider in your home country. You also have the right to be informed of the treatment options, be assured about the quality and safety, and whether a particular health care provider is legally authorized to provide services. Prescriptions that are issued by a doctor in your own country, are valid in all EU countries.

The European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is available free of charge and is proof that you are insured in an EU country. Nationals of EU countries and nationals of non-EU countries residing legally in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland reside and are insured under a national social security system, are eligible for a card. Each family member that goes abroad, must have their own card.

Requesting the health insurance card

In some countries, the national health insurance card is also the European Health Insurance Card. In other countries, the card must be requested. The card is free of charge. Please contact your own health care provider for more information.

Restrictions on the use of the European Health Insurance Card

  • Your card does not cover rescue and repatriation costs. If you want to free transportation home in case of serious illness or serious accident in another EU country, you have to book  additional insurance beforehand.
  • The card does not cover private health care or for planned treatment in another EU country.
  • The card does not guarantee that the service is free. Each country has a different health care system. Some treatments may be free in one country but costly in another.