Free European Health Insurance Card For U.K. Residents Means Health Care Benefits While Traveling

Since Travis and I have moved from the USA to the U.K., we have had the opportunity to take advantage of some health care perks that would comparatively be really expensive in the U.S. (like pharmaceuticals).  Then I discovered that, as U.K. residents, we can also apply for a European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) which grants us access to state-run hospitals and General Practitioners in the European Union (EU).  Basically, if either of us were to require medical assistance while traveling within the EU (plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), we would be treated and charged (or not charged) just as a citizen of that country would be.

This could potentially be really useful since Travis is in the process of planning a hike up Mont Blanc (the highest mountain in the Alps), and if one of us gets injured, it’s nice to know that we will not be royally slammed with hospital bills.

We could not, however, travel specifically for this perk.  Like, if I needed a total knee replacement, I couldn’t research the cheapest place, fly there, and go under the knife.  It doesn’t work like that.  But for emergencies or illnesses while traveling, this will work nicely.

The EHIC is free.  To apply, go here: https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do

You can also download the EHIC app, which gives country-specific hospital locations and associated costs.  You can find this app by searching for “European Health Insurance Card.”Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 6.50.50 PM.png

Hopefully we’ll never have to take advantage of this, but it is free to get the card, so we are both signing up today.

 

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