Busting Five Common Myths About European Health Insurance Card
The Internet is bringing the world together. It has opened new vistas and made life very easy by bringing a plethora of information to the user with just a few clicks. However, just because a lot of information is available, one should not believe everything. Many a time, conflicting online information confuses a person and clouds his/ her vision. One topic that falls into this category is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
After applying for an EHIC, people tend to think that their travel is fully covered. This is far from being true. An EHIC is a state insurance cover for anyone who is travelling within the member countries that fall in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. The primary coverage of this card is only medical care, with a set of exceptions. Here is a set of common myths regarding the EHIC that are making rounds on the internet:
EHIC covers all medical expenses during travel
False. Only those medical treatments abroad are covered under an EHIC that would be covered by the state when the person is in their country of residence. This means that any medical procedure for which a person has to pay in the country of residence will also be chargeable when the person travels, and will not be covered by EHIC.
The cost of EHIC depends on the country of travel
Wrong. EHIC is issued free of cost to all applicants. The only criteria that the applicants have to fulfil is that they have to be registered with the social security of the country in which it is applied. There is no cost involved anywhere, right from applying for an EHIC, to receiving it. However, there are some third-party application assistants that can help an applicant with the whole process, for a fee. Availing this service is not mandatory.
Hiring an application assistant will expedite the EHIC application
Wrong again. The processing of EHIC is completely automated and under the direct control of the Government. Therefore, anyone claiming to be able to shorten the processing times is clearly lying.
EHIC card covers accidents while travelling
Partly true. The EHIC will cover all charges for medical treatment that is given at only public hospitals, and only for those procedures that are covered in the traveller’s country of residence. Thus, any treatment availed at private medical centres will have to be borne by the travellers. Also, if the accident necessitates air-lifting or repatriation of the traveller, these services will also not be covered by the EHIC.
The EHIC takes care of lost luggage and flight cancellations
False. An EHIC does not cover any theft, loss or misplacement of luggage or belongings during travel. It also does not cover any expense resulting from delays or cancellation of flights.
Applying for an EHIC is a great way to prevent unforeseen medical expenses. However, it is not a replacement for travel insurance because it doesn’t have a comprehensive cover for travel.