A third of all Brits abroad could be denied hospital treatment because they don’t have their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with them while on holiday – or have never bothered to apply for one.
Travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance reveals the shock figures just as the peak summer holiday season hits.
The company has called for travellers to apply for an EHIC, which entitles them to reduced or free medical care in the European Economic Area, as well as taking out adequate travel insurance.
Lee Taylor, from the firm, said: “Our survey shows that 1 in 3 UK travellers don’t take an EHIC with them to Europe.
“This puts them at huge risk, if they need medical care abroad. An EHIC is essential for anyone to receive treatment from public hospitals in all European Economic Area countries.
“We also urge holidaymakers to ensure they book the right level of travel insurance, declaring all medical conditions, as falling ill or needing emergency support abroad can be very costly.
How to apply for an EHIC card
The card is FREE and you can apply online here:
Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth.
The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland.
An EHIC renewal or application is entirely free of charge. However, other unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them.
If you’re having difficulties with the online application form, you want to update your personal details or replace a lost or stolen card, call the automated EHIC application service on 0300 3301350.