Spain warned over rejection of EHIC: 5 reasons why the EHIC does not replace travel insurance

Added 30/05/2013

The news that some Spanish state hospitals are refusing to accept the European Health Insurance Card and charging tourists instead highlights the importance of having travel insurance every time you travel.

Travel insurance cut out

It has been reported today that the European Commission is launching legal action against Spain because some of its public hospitals are refusing to accept the EHIC from tourists requiring emergency medical treatment.

The EHIC proves your entitlement to state provided healthcare, but some state hospitals in Spain have been rejecting the card and either charging tourists for their medical treatment or telling them to recoup the cost from their travel insurance.

5 reasons why the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance

In addition to the fact that some public hospitals in Spain will not accept the EHIC card, here are 5 more reasons why you need travel insurance every time you travel, even within Europe.

  • Travel insurance will cover you for treatment in a private or public hospital.
  • As a tourist you may get directed to a private hospital or clinic for medical treatment rather than a state run hospital. Whereas EHIC cards aren’t accepted by private hospitals, travel insurance is.

  • State provided healthcare may not be free.
  • Even if you are treated at a state or public hospital, your treatment may not be free. The EHIC proves your entitlement to the same state provided healthcare as a local resident, but this may not be free of charge as it is in the UK.

  • Travel insurance will cover you to be brought back to the UK.
  • If after a medical emergency you are deemed unfit to return to the UK on your pre-booked transport, your travel insurance can provide cover for you to be flown home by air ambulance or on an alternative flight with a medical escort. An EHIC does not provide this cover and you could find yourself having to stay in a foreign hospital until you are fit enough to return home.

  • Travel insurance gives you access to an English speaking 24 hour medical assistance team.
  • The medical assistance team are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year from anywhere in the world. They are there to help you get the medical treatment you need by authorising medical bills, liaising with local doctors on your behalf and arranging alternative transport back to the UK if necessary.

  • Travel insurance can provide cover for cancellation, travel delay, insolvency and more.
  • In addition to providing cover for emergency medical expenses, travel insurance policies can also provide cover if you need to cancel your holiday due to illness or redundancy, if your flight is delayed and if one of your holiday suppliers goes bankrupt.

Whatever your holiday destination, travel insurance is vital.

If you have any existing medical conditions it is also important to make sure that these are covered by your travel insurance by declaring them to your travel insurance provider.

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