Money Mensch: Get free medical treatment abroad this summer

By Martin Lewis, August 7, 2008

If you are planning a trip to Europe this summer, there is one thing you should take with you - the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you access to free or discounted medical treatment in any state-run European Union or Swiss hospital. It enables you to get treatment for the same cost as if you were a native in that country.

However, not all European countries have a public health service, so in many cases you will have to pay. But, it is definitely a good back-up plan for everyone, particularly if you are struggling to get cover with travel insurance for medical issues. By having an EHIC card as well as travel insurance, it means you may not have to pay the excess on your travel insurance policy if you do make a claim. But you should not see it as an alternative to travel insurance.

You can get it from the post office, online at, or by calling 0845 606 2030.

Last updated: 2:56pm, September 16 2008