Traveling Internationally? Get Your Health Insurance Together

When traveling abroad not only should you make sure that you have had all the vaccines required for where you will be going, remember to find out what kind of medical coverage you have when leaving the country. Some insurance plans are only good in the country where they were purchased, while others have some sort of coverage for traveling abroad. It is possible to have a medical emergency while traveling and you will need to have your medical information with you at the time of service. Since January 1, 2019 it is now required for all persons traveling in Europe to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to be able to receive medical treatment while visiting an European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. So, make sure you find out if the country in which you are traveling even accepts your insurance and if not what you will need, such as an EHIC card or something else similar.

The EHIC is valid for three to five years. It covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, due to either illness or an accident. This can be very handy especially when traveling with the family. The card gives you and your family access to state-provided medical treatment and you’ll be treated on the same basis as an ‘insured’ person living in the country you’re visiting. Depending on what country you are visiting, you might have a co-pay or fee depending on the type of treatment. Each country has its own uses for the card, so be sure to know the usage and limitations of each country you are visiting. Flare-ups of chronic diseases and pre-existing conditions is also covered under EHIC, such as dyalisis or diabetes. Make sure you have all you medical issues cleared up before traveling abroad to reduce the risk of needing medical assistance. But having the protection in case of an emegency is much better than getting stuck with a huge bill.

EHIC will not cover you if getting medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip. If you have scheduled a surgical procedure abroad then you won’t be able to use EHIC and should have made the arrangements with your private insurance to handle that. Make sure when scheduling a medical procedure in another country your private insurance is a form that is accepted. EHIC is for people who have no known health issues or minor health problems. This will enable them to be covered in cases of emergency or falling ill while traveling. This keeps the individual from have to spend all their money in medical treatment. You should take out comprehensive private insurance as well for visits to all countries, regardless of whether you are covered by your EHIC. For women traveling abroad during pregnancy EHIC should cover any routine visit you might need. They will also cover an emergency birth, but other paper work might have to filled out at the time. If your sole purpose is to give birth in another country you will not be able to use EHIC. You will have to fill out other types of paper work that you can obtain from the government of the country you are seeking to birth in.

Apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you:
Plan to go on holiday to another EU / EEA country or Switzerland
Regularly visit any of these countries on business, as a transport worker or for leisure
Plan to go to any of these countries to look for work
Are being sent by your employer to work in any of these countries temporarily
Intend to go to school in any of these countries
Intend to visit any of these countries for any other type of temporary stay where healthcare in itself is not the aim of the visit

Having a European Health Insurance Card will allow you to get reduced cost or free medical assistance while traveling in European Economic Area countries, and Switzerland. The European Economic Are includes the European Union, including Iceland and also Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland also participates but has a slightly different policy than some of the other countries. Make sure you know where you will be staying and what the policy is for each country.



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