European Health Insurance Card EHIC Supplementary Medical Insurance Innoculations & Bird Flu

The European Health Insurance Card EHIC Details



EHIC Information

Other Medical Insurance & Bird Flu Info

Other Related Pages

Cabin Luggage Restrictions Including Medicines

Consulate Information

Travel Warnings

European Health Insurance Card Information.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is available free to national citizens (over 16 years of age) of all 27 European Union Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It is not available to residents of the Channel Islands or the Isle Of Man.

It entitles you to the same emergency treatment if you have an accident or sudden illness as the citzens of the country you are in would recieve from their county’s health service. Depending on the country you are in these services may be free or discounted. You should carry your EHIC with you when you are abroad incase you need these services.

The EHIC is for emergency medical treatment of a road accident injury or a heart attack. It may not cover all medicine or hospitalisation costs and does cover the cost of repatriation to the UK. It doesnot cover the injuries sustained in skiing accidents and hand gliding etc. Neither does it cost Dental treatment. In Europe residents should apply to their national state health service for a card.

In the UK appliations to obtain a EHIC are available from Post Offices by completing the Department of Health’s leaflet Health Advice for Travellers (HAFT). Alternatively you may call 08701 555 455. You may also find out further details and apply for a card on theirwebsite. Provided you are eligible you should recieve your card within 5 – 10 days.

Late Applications: It is possible to register for a card up until 24 hours before departing the UK on the Department of Health service EHIC enquiry line 0845 606 2030. They are incredibly helpful and will give you a registration number which you can take with you even though you card won’t arrive in time. However we do not recommend this as you may find that some hospitals will not treat you under the agreement without you physically being able to produce the card.


Alternative & Supplementary Insurance

In addition to the European Health Insurance Card you should consider taking out medical insurance to cover the cost of services that you are not covered by it.

If you have not got a EHIC or travelling to a country not named in the top paragraph you should consider taking out medical insurance before you leave. This is particulary important is countries in Eastern and Southern Europe who are not EU members where state provided healthcare is at best very basic. In these countries private healthcare may even in an emergency be the only option available. Such services normally have to be paid for as and when you recieve them and claimed back by you from your insurer when you return home.

Check The Terms Of The Policy Before Subscribing To It

Put bluntly the holiday insurance industry is a warm sea in which there are quite a few sharks. It is as important to check what the policy does not cover as what it does actually cover. For example, many policies for example do not cover emergency dental treatment, fewer still cover people with a historic medical condition, and others may not cover any of or the full cost of bringing you home in an air ambulance.

General medical insurance usually excludes cover for accidents that occur on activity breaks such as scuba diving, skiing and parachuting holidays. If you are going on an activity trip it is advisable to take out insurance specific to that activity. Check also whether the insurance covers you for incidents outside the ‘specified’ activity such as a road accident.

If the cover suits you before you sign up you should check the initial amount of any claim you would have to pay before the policy comes active. You should also check what the maximum amount payout you can claim for is.

Editorial Note: Before taking out medical insurance it is equally important to bear in mind where you are going as it is the type of holiday you are going on. For example will the policy cover the cost of an air ambulance from Russia which may be several times higher than one from the Alpine areas.

These issues in reality are actually more important than how low the premium you are paying is. Price comparison websites and money supermarket websites make not make these types of distinction and their findings price wise could be misleading. If it is ridiculously cheap it may not be worth having.

Taking Medicine Abroad

If you are taking prescribed medicine with you it is advisable to check with the country’s consulate (see the euromost consulate page for links) whether poession of the medicine would present you with any legal problems under their law. You should all check the euromost cabin luggage restrictions page if you are going to carry it in hand luggage.

Working Abroad – Long Stay Visits & Innoculations

If you have do take out an insurance policies take a photo copy of it with you if possible. The very least you should take is the number that you should ring in an emergency.

If you visit involves you staying and or working the UK may have a social security agreement with the country you are going to. For more details of what this agreement does or not cover go to the e Department for Work and Pensions’ website ( It is advisable to have a dental check up if you are going on a long stay visit.

Occasionally, in some countries it may be a requirement or adviseable to be innoculated against specific diseases. The consular / embassys for the country will advise you of any requirements (see the euromost consulate page for links). Your GP and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office are other sources of information. The latter is a especially useful.

Avian & Pandemic Influenza ( Bird Flu )

The risks to humans from avian flu are low, but it is possible that current outbreaks in birds could at some point develop into a human flu pandemic which would be much more serious

The risk of avian flu to British nationals visiting countries affected by avian flu is believed to be very low. There is no reason not to travel to these countries

The risk of avian flu to British nationals living overseas in countries affected by avian flu is also currently very low; but they should take personal responsibility for their own safety in the event of a future pandemic, including considering their access to adequate healthcare

All those visiting or living in countries affected by avian flu should follow sensible precautions The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that recent outbreaks of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, could trigger a future human flu pandemic.

Experts began monitoring a form of avian influenza – known as the highly- pathogenic H5N1 (or A/H5N1) strain – eight years ago. Since the end of 2003, there have been a series of outbreaks amongst poultry and wild birds, starting in South-East Asia. Information about countries that have experienced outbreaks is available on thw WHO website.

Medical experts warn that the avian influenza virus could combine with influenza viruses already circulating in the human population or adapt into a form which could be transmitted readily between people. It is impossible to predict when this might happen. But if it did, it could trigger a global human flu pandemic.

It is important to distinguish between avian flu, the current disease affecting mainly birds, and pandemic flu, which would affect mainly humans and is at this stage only a possibility.

There are no specific restrictions for travellers to any of the countries affected by avian influenza, as the risk is believed to be very low. But if you plan on travelling to areas where outbreaks have been reported, you may wish to take the following precautions:

Avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you might come into contact with wild, domestic or caged birds

Avoid contact with surfaces contaminated with animal faeces or fluids

Avoid eating or handling poultry, egg or duck dishes, if any of these are undercooked or raw (normal cooking destroys the avian influenza virus)

Wash hands regularly

Do not attempt to bring any live poultry products back to the UK

Most human cases are thought to have acquired their infection following exposure to dead or diseased birds. Evidence suggests that particularly risky exposure occurs during the slaughter, plucking and preparation of poultry for cooking.

There is at present no vaccine against any future pandemic flu strain. The normal seasonal flu vaccination protects against currently circulating human influenza strains, but is unlikely to offer any protection against avian flu strains or against a new pandemic flu strain. The use of seasonal flu vaccination, by minimising numbers of cases of seasonal flu, would reduce opportunities for avian strains to mix with human strains, and may allow people with avian or pandemic flu to be more easily identified.

Anti-viral drugs, such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu ®), may be effective in reducing the severity and duration of an influenza illness, but this has not been proven in a pandemic situation and their effect may be limited.



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