What is (not) covered by the European Health Insurance Card?
In the EU (as well as in Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) you are entitled to receive the necessary health care during your stay abroad. Local doctors are obliged to treat you under the same conditions as local citizens. However, the equal treatment rule applies to both quality and price. Your health insurance company will only cover the costs that are normally covered by local health insurance companies. This means that you will have to pay the deductible (that is often quite high) just like locals. The healthcare is therefore not free of charge and in most cases, you will not save money.
What are the disadvantages of EHIC?
1. The treatment in EU is never for free, you always have to pay the deductible.
- In all the countries, you will have to cover part of the costs for the health care just like local citizens. The deductible varies by country and type of treatment but when compared to the fees paid in the Czech Republic, it is usually quite high.
- Examples of deductible in selected countries:
- France – 30 % of medical treatment, up to 65 % of drugs
- Denmark – up to 100 % of dental treatment and drugs
- Austria – EUR 10 for a day of hospitalization
- Italy – 100 % of drugs
- Read more about the additional payments in particular countries here.
- In some of the countries (i.e. France, Belgium), the bills for medical treatment need to be paid immediately in cash. When you come back to the Czech Republic, you have to ask your health insurance company for reimbursement. The deductible can't be reimbursed.
2. The EHIC card can only be used in public healthcare facilities.
- Most of the hospitals and healthcare providers in touristic destinations are private. The costs of medical treatment in private facilities are not covered by the public health insurance and you will have to pay it yourselves.
3. The European insurance does not include assistance services that are very important especially in case of hospitalization. You will have to arrange everything yourselves.
4. You will have to fully cover costs fortransport back to the Czech Republic (repatriation).
5. In case of your death, your relatives will have to cover all the costs for repatriation of your remains.
What are the advantages of an individual travel insurance?
- Travel insurance always includes assistance services that will help you in any emergency situation.
- All the costs for the treatment including local statutory deductibles are covered by the travel insurance company.
- Medical expenses always apply to both public and private healthcare providers.
- Expenses that the insured person had to pay in cash are fully reimbursed by the travel insurance company as soon as possible (usually within 2 weeks following the submission of the receipts and documents).
- Travel insurance applies to the transport of the patient or repatriation of human remains back to the home country.
- Travel insurance covers a lot of other travel related risks (personal liability, baggage, trip cancellation, accompanying escort etc.).
- Insurance terms and conditions are uniform for all countries.
- Insurance premium is usually much lower than mandatory deductibles of medical treatment in particular countries.