Travelling in Europe for us in the UK is easy to do just a hop across the channel and we’re there. I’ve visited Venice for the day or gone for months to Greece to work and every time I have carried with me a little card. Way back in 1997 on my first trip solo it was a little paper card that fitted in my bag and now it’s a proper credit card but it’s essential and I wouldn’t travel without it. The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC is a card that gets you reduced or FREE health care in countries within the European Economic Area and is available to those with a UK National Insurance Number or an NHS number. It is not an alternative to Travel Insurance but is essential on top of it.
One of the things you don’t want to be is ill in a foreign country no matter where you are travelling but it does happen and a number of times I’ve had to use the old E111 cards and also the newer EHIC card whilst travelling. The EHIC covers pre-existing conditions as well as Maternity Care which for myself were both the two important factors.
I travel with a health condition – my travel insurance reflects this as I have anaphylaxis – a server allergic reaction to… well that’s the thing it’s under investigation we don’t know the hospital conduct test every couple of years as they discover new allergens and we are no closer to discovering what causes it but because of it I carry a couple of EpiPens with me as well as anti-histamines but as soon as the EpiPen is administered I need to seek medical help for monitoring and any after effects.
I have also travelled whilst just under 20 weeks pregnant, actually our first family holiday with 3 of us I was pregnant with T at the time and over exerted myself and caused some regular contractions to start up – I saw a doctor who referred me on the island to the maternity ward on the hospital and I got a little extra peek at T whilst there as they did an ultrasound to check on the babies health and the contractions – I was told to rest.
With carrying my EHIC card, I was able to seek the normal health services of the people in those countries and paid the same cost as they would including for prescriptions that I needed to take afterwards.
The European Health Insurance Card isn’t difficult to get in the UK – you will need either a NI number or your NHS number and then it’s around 10 working days for it to arrive. All you need to do to apply is to go to the NHS site – and the EHIC page and you can click on the link to apply.
Think that you’re good cause you have a card – CHECK THE RENEWAL DATE – we’re off to Europe in a couple of weeks for a long weekend and of the 3 cards I need 2 were out of date so I used the same link to renew the cards and they will be sent in 10 working days as well.