Don't leave the UK without an EHIC – or travel insurance!
As well as a gorgeous climate and access to plenty of picturesque beaches to relax on, holidaying or working in Spain and Madrid in particular also has insurance advantages. As both Spain and the UK are part of the European Union, Brits are automatically entitled to state-provided medical treatment if they should fall ill while away.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is easy to get hold of and can provide invaluable help should something go wrong on a holiday in Europe.
EHIC holders are generally entitled to the same medical treatment as a Spanish resident at a reduced cost or free of charge, although it is worth nothing that this could be slightly different to what the NHS would provide. In cases where patients have to contribute to the cost of their healthcare, they may be eligible for a refund upon returning to the UK. However, it is essential to ensure the healthcare provider is state funded, rather than private - as the EHIC will not cover these costs.
People with the card will not only receive any medical treatment for sudden illness or accident, but also treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary while abroad. It also covers routine maternity care, provision of oxygen and kidney dialysis - but these sessions will need to be booked ahead of time.
The quickest way to apply for an EHIC, free of charge, is to fill in the form at www.ehic.org.uk. Applicants will need their
- NHS or National Insurance Number,
- Forenames and
- Date of Birth.
Alternatively, people can apply by calling 0845 606 2030. Expired cards must also be renewed.
Despite all these benefits to the EHIC, it should not be used as an alternative to medical travel insurance.
A private travel insurance policy will cover, among other things, emergencies such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, the need to be flown back to the UK, and a lost or stolen policy - none of which the card covers. Therefore, before jetting off, it is vital that travellers ensure they have both an EHIC and a private travel insurance policy.
Emergency services in Madrid...>
Madrid "Essential Information"....>