There’s a big summer of sport coming up, with the Olympics in Rio in August and the European football championships taking place in France through June and early July. England, Northern Ireland and Wales have all qualified for the competition, and thousands of football fans from the UK will be crossing the channel to support their teams. Most will have taken out insurance to cover the obvious risks such as missing a flight or having their passport stolen, but nobody likes to think about falling ill on holiday and often medical cover is an afterthought. Is EHIC cover enough, or should football fans be taking out comprehensive travel insurance instead?
Getting EHIC Cover for France
EHIC is an agreement between the various countries which make up the EU and allows British people to access the state healthcare system in France. Many people will be aware that there is some sort of arrangement in place, but don’t know that you have to apply online before you leave the UK and have the card in your possession if you need to see a doctor in France. EHIC cards usually arrive within seven days of your application, but as we approach the peak summer travel season, it may take longer. Get the application in now if you are heading to France in less than a month.
What Will the EHIC Cover?
If your EHIC arrives before you travel to France, you’ll need it to access the state healthcare system. It will not cover you to see a private doctor or be treated in a private hospital. If you do have an accident and are admitted to hospital, treatment isn’t free; you might be asked to pay a 20% contribution towards the cost depending on your condition. If you have to stay overnight, a daily charge of 18 euros will apply. If your doctor prescribes medicine, this will also be charged for. Two golden rules apply to accessing healthcare in France. Firstly, make sure you are very clear that you are an EHIC holder and wish to be treated under the state system, especially when you are relying on a French speaker to make the appointments or referral for you. Secondly, always ask for full invoices and keep receipts for any payments you make, as you might be able to claim these back if you’ve taken out travel insurance.
Travel Insurance for Euro 2016 Visits
If you’ve also got travel insurance for your trip to France, this should also cover you for some medical issues too. Travel insurance companies will often agree to meet the cost of private medical treatment which gives you more flexibility over which doctor and hospital you use, and even if you do end up in the state system you might be able to reclaim any fees which are applied. In the worst case scenario, travel insurance will cover the cost of getting you back to the UK in an air ambulance, or allow you to change your flights for when you are better.