Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

travelling in europe medical card

Holidays and trips abroad are always a thrilling experience, but unfortunately, accidents can happen anytime. However, if you are traveling within the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) ensures that you have access to necessary medical services in any EU country.

What if I need a doctor while traveling abroad?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive medical treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost as for people insured in the country you are visiting. This means that you won’t have to worry about exorbitant medical bills while enjoying your vacation.

The EHIC is valid in any EU country, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. So, no matter where you are in Europe, you can feel secure knowing that you have access to essential healthcare services.

To obtain the EHIC, simply contact your national health provider, and they will issue the card to you free of charge. Just make sure to apply for it before you travel to ensure you have it on hand when needed.

What does EHIC cover?

The EHIC covers any necessary, state-provided healthcare treatment that cannot be postponed until you’ve returned from your stay in another EU country. It ensures that you receive the same level of care as the locals, which includes benefits provided in conjunction with chronic or existing illnesses, as well as pregnancy and childbirth-related services.

It’s important to note that hospitals providing public health services are obligated to recognize the EHIC. In most cases, patients presenting the card receive the necessary healthcare without any problems and are reimbursed accordingly.

However, it is essential to understand that the European Health Insurance Card is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover private healthcare costs, such as a return flight to your home country or lost/stolen property. Additionally, if you are traveling specifically for medical treatment, the EHIC will not cover your costs. It’s always recommended to have comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unforeseen circumstances.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to be aware that while the EHIC ensures access to healthcare, it does not guarantee free services. Each country has its own healthcare system, and services that are free in your home country may not be free in another. It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the healthcare system of the country you are visiting to avoid any surprises.

Contacts and Costs, Country by Country

If you want to have detailed information about medical contacts and costs in the country you are traveling to, our website provides a comprehensive listing for your convenience. You can find emergency phone numbers, information about covered treatments and their costs, as well as guidance on how to claim reimbursement and who to contact if you lose your card.

Our database covers 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. It is available in 24 languages, ensuring that you can access the information you need no matter where you come from or where you are going.


As per the latest available figures, approximately 235 million Europeans currently possess the EHIC. This remarkable number represents more than half of the EU population, highlighting the significance of this healthcare resource for travelers across Europe.

Traveling should be a time of joy and exploration, and with the European Health Insurance Card, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have access to the necessary medical care during your adventures abroad. Make sure to obtain your EHIC before embarking on your next trip and enjoy worry-free travels.

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