EU health insurance card eases holiday health care
19 August 2008
BRUSSELS – Unknown to some, the European Union provides a health insurance card that makes it easier for holders to access medical assistance while on holiday.
According to the European Commission, the card guarantees emergency medical help in 31 European countries including all EU states as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
The card is free of charge and is printed in the language of the issuing state. However, the card’s design is uniform, making it possible to understand all the card’s details even if medical personnel cannot read the language its printed in.
The card allows anyone who is insured at home to access medical assistance abroad in the same manner as a local person.
Medical costs will be paid in full or part by the cardholder’s health insurance company. In some countries such as Belgium or France, the patient must pay for the costs and wait to be reimbursed when they return home.
Another important point is that the card is only valid for medical procedures performed in public health institutions and not in private clinics.
The card does not cover costs that would normally be paid for by a conventional holiday insurance.
Check with your health insurance company for details on how to apply for the card. In some countries the holiday insurance card is already on the reverse side of health cards with micro-chips.
The card was introduced in 2004 and 36 per cent of EU citizens possess one.
[dpa / Expatica]