Family Holiday Insurance and Private Health Cover
Family holiday insurance is sometimes thought not as necessary these days due to European health entitlements. What's the real story, though?
In a worrying trend, family holiday insurance continues to be confused with the European health cover entitlements available through the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) system.
Here we will re-examine the issue and clarify some common misconceptions.
Family health insurance on holiday
No responsible family would set off on holiday without being certain that the costs of any health treatment they might require would be covered, should the need arise. In the United Kingdom, both emergency and more routine treatment is typically available free of charge at the point of service delivery through the National Health Service.
However, if you are leaving the United Kingdom, you need to think about how you would cope with the costs should you or one of your family require treatment abroad.
Travelling outside of the European Union
If you are visiting a country outside of the EU, you should be aware that you would typically be expected to pay for any medical treatment you may require while you are there. It is worth noting that in some countries, the cost of even relatively routine medical treatment can run into tens of thousands of pounds. More serious treatments can easily run to hundreds of thousands or, in some extreme cases, even millions.
You should also be aware that in some countries you might not receive emergency medical treatment unless the providers believe you will be capable of paying the cost. In some circumstances they might decline to offer you medical support unless you could prove that you have appropriate insurance cover to help.
It is important to note as well that the EHIC only applies to the European Union plus one or two affiliated countries such as Switzerland and Norway. If you are travelling outside of Western Europe, you should consider making sure that your family holiday insurance includes full health care expenses cover. In other words, your EHIC will be useless to you outside of the EU and Western Europe.
Travelling within the European Union
Your EHIC will allow you access to the same level of emergency health care provision that a citizen of the country concerned would benefit from. Note that this is NOT the same thing as saying “free medical care”. If local citizens would be expected to pay for all or part of the treatment, then so will you - although you may be able to reclaim those costs upon your return to the United Kingdom.
A key factor here is the reality that the EHIC is intended to cover only emergency medical treatment. It is not private family holiday insurance. For example, it will not reimburse you for things such as an air ambulance, should you need one, nor any ancillary costs incurred by your family in staying with you past the end of a holiday should you need assistance while you are in hospital. You may be expected and required to meet those costs out of your own pocket and yet again that could be extremely expensive.
So, even if you are travelling within the European Union with an EHIC, it is very sensible to consider additional family holiday insurance in order to protect yourself from unexpected health-related costs.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of Insuremore. We provide low cost travel insurance and offer a range of policies including family holiday insurance, annual, multi-trip and single-trip insurance. For all your travel cover needs, Insuremore can help you in the quickest and most cost-efficient way.