Healthcare Abroad / Claiming Costs

This guide is by no means a definitive but will at least be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to health care abroad.EHIC-CARD_.jpg

Travelling in the European Economic Area

You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you go abroad.

After Brexit your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) card may not be valid.

It’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.

When travelling to europe you should apply for a EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) card. The 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. For more information about what is covered in each country see NHS Choices country-by-country guide.

You can apply for a free EHIC online. 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.  

If you have any questions about the European Health Insurance Card then you can visit the NHS Choices FAQ, they may provide the answers. However, if you still have further questions then you should contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999. If calling from abroad ring 00 44 191 218 1999.

Travelling outside the European Economic Area

NHS Choices has a full list of countries and territories that have reciprocal healthcare agreements with the non-EEA countries. If you're visiting any of these countries and need urgent or immediate medical treatment, it will be provided at a reduced cost or, in some cases, free. The agreements do not cover the cost of returning you to the UK (repatriation) or routine monitoring of pre-existing conditions. The range of medical services in these countries may be more restricted than under the NHS. Therefore, ensure you have a valid private travel insurance policy when travelling to any country.

You’ll be treated as if you were a resident of the country in question. Generally, these agreements cover UK nationals living in the UK. If you're not a UK national, you may still be covered for some reduced cost or free treatment if you normally live in the UK. 

If you're planning to live or work in one of the reciprocal agreement countries, the information provided on NHS Choices may not apply. Contact the HMRC Centre for Non-residents on 0845 915 4811 for more information.


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