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'Confusion' on overseas healthcare

28 March 2013 09:30

A survery has found many people are going on holiday without arranging travel insurance

A survery has found many people are going on holiday without arranging travel insurance

Travellers are often unsure about what healthcare they will be entitled to while on holiday abroad, a poll has suggested. A survey carried out by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) questioned 2,500 people and found 54% of them did not know they needed a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to receive healthcare in EU countries.

The study also found almost one in three people are going on trips abroad without any kind of travel insurance or an EHIC, leaving them vulnerable to running up large bills if they fall ill while overseas.

The EHIC, which allows access to care in EU or European Free Trade Area nations, is free and available from the NHS website and some travel agents but only 44% of those quizzed knew the card needed replacing after five years. However, the ABI also said it was worried people were using the EHIC as a substitute for travel insurance to save money.

"It is absolutely not a substitute for travel insurance," said Linsey White of the ABI.

"If you have a problem abroad and you need to be flown back to the UK in an emergency, the cost of an air ambulance can be up to £15,000 and that is not covered by an EHIC."

Meanwhile, people travelling with existing health conditions are reminded of the importance of pre-existing medical travel insurance before departing on their holiday.