A consumer expert has issued a warning to vacationers who have already had an EHIC card.
A European Health Insurance Card or EHIC allows UK travelers to get limited coverage for health issues when visiting EU countries.
However, with the sudden changes in a country’s tourism policy at home and abroad along with ever-changing Covid regulations, it can be difficult to plan a vacation in today’s climate.
You can land in a green country that turns orange or red causing a whole bunch of confusing rules and fees, Mirror reports.
If you are planning to book a vacation abroad, make sure you have some great ones on one side just in case of worst-case scenarios or keep a lot of the credit on your credit card for peace of mind.
Whatever you do, make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy – because from lost handbags to the sea wall fall, a lot of other things can go wrong while on vacation.
And why not make sure you have some free perks as well.
Consumer expert Martyn James explains how the EHIC card changes and why you still need travel insurance.
Travel, health issues and the EHIC card
An old EHIC or E111 card may be hiding in your wallet or purse.
These cards (the European Health Insurance Card and its predecessor) allowed UK travelers to get limited coverage for health issues when visiting EU countries (and a few other countries like Switzerland, Norway , Iceland or Liechtenstein).
While the EHIC card is a useful – and free – thing to have on hand when traveling abroad, it was never intended as a substitute for travel insurance.
The things the card covered you for varied from country to country and generally allowed some free or reduced public health care.
Many vacationers have come to harvest after wandering around a private hospital without realizing it, only to be hit by a bill. Either way, it was definitely worth traveling with the map handy.
Now that we have left the EU, the EHIC card will eventually cease to exist.
Check the expiration date on the card – yours will be valid until that date.
The good news is that there will be a replacement, the GHIC card. The GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) has just been announced by the government and is available for free on the NHS website.
The new rules are a bit complicated, so it’s easier to say, don’t assume your old EHIC or new GHIC will cover you in all countries, so check the Gov.uk website before you travel.
Now if you think you can put in a sneaky app and get an extended EHIC expiration, I’m afraid the system will figure it out and force you to ask for a replacement card.
You need your National Insurance Number to apply so that you also cannot use different registration details.
A word of warning. Mainstream website MoneySavingExpert pointed out that there are a number of fake websites that look official but are charged to help you with the application process.
It’s legal, but immoral. So only browse the official government site. The card and the process are free, so if someone asks for money, you know it’s not legitimate.
Even if the EHIC / GHIC card is covered in the country you are traveling to (and don’t be fooled by the “global” – there is still a lot to do), you must have a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
It has been a chaotic year for travel coverage, with new policies drying up completely at one point.
Good news though, you can still get policies and many of them will cover you for Covid – but only if you’re diagnosed (not just showing symptoms).
Travel insurance documents are long and complicated, but it is very important that you read the key fact documents so that you know exactly what you are covered for and what the deductible limits / claim requirements are.
Remember to take the documents with you if you are traveling – and keep the emergency request number and your police number on your phone or email so you can locate it quickly if you need it.
Resolver can help you with all your holiday and travel issues and complaints for free at www.resolver.co.uk