Holidaymakers 'over-optimistic' about EHIC benefits

15 June 2017 08:29

Many Britons expect too much from EHICs, data suggests

Many Britons expect too much from EHICs, data suggests

Many holidaymakers are over-estimating the benefits offered by European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs), a new study warns.

According to GoCompare, some 10% of UK adults who have ventured overseas in the past five years have made use of an EHIC during their time in a different country. These cards can help people access free or reduced medical treatments in Europe.

But despite the benefits provided by these cards, the website has warned that they do have limitations. It said 69% of people incorrectly believe an EHIC always entitles them to free emergency medical care anywhere in Europe, while another 6% expect to get free emergency medical treatment anywhere in the world.

Instead of seeing an EHIC as a handy add-on, some 6% of the respondents to the site's survey believe it can serve as an alternative to having proper travel insurance.

'Not an alternative to travel insurance'

Amanda Bathroy, an expert from GoCompare, said that more than two thirds of people feel EHICs offer a lot more protection than is the case in reality.

She said: "It may come in handy on a European holiday, but it shouldn't be seen as an alternative to the medical expenses cover provided by a good travel insurance policy."

Applications are free

Ms Bathroy added that an EHIC is not a guarantee that people will avoid medical costs when travelling around the European Economic Area.

Instead, she warned: "Holidaymakers should always arrange suitable travel insurance to ensure they're covered for all emergency medical treatment and medical repatriation if necessary. An EHIC complements your travel insurance but it certainly doesn't replace it."

GoCompare has pointed out that people don't need to make any payments when applying for an EHIC. It said that applications can be made through an official government website for free, despite the fact that some companies charge people for this service.

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