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Healthcare in the Czech Republic

Nobody wants to fall ill or need emergency medical attention on their trip to the Czech Republic, but it’s always wise to be prepared for the worst. The Czech Republic is a member of the EU, and as such you have rights to reciprocal healthcare under the EHIC system. EHIC isn’t a substitute for private travel insurance but can be useful in certain circumstances.

Using EHIC Cover in the Czech Republic

EHIC cover only applies if you have filled in the forms online and applied for cards for you and your family before travelling. It is important to do this well ahead of travel as it can take several weeks for the cards to be issued. Czech state health providers may also ask to see your UK passport. The public health system in the Czech Republic is fragmented, and the state system comprises several public health insurance funds. You can access any providers which are contracted under one of these funds. Always check if you are unsure whether the doctor you are being recommended works under the state system. All patients under the Czech system have to pay 30 Koruna (around £1) to see a doctor or dentist. The same charge applies to prescriptions or tests such as X-rays. Emergency dental treatment is also covered under the Czech public system, and will cost 90 Koruna (around £3) per visit. Higher charges also apply if you are admitted to hospital as an emergency outside standard office hours. Always get receipts for any charges you are expected to pay, and you will be expected to pay in cash rather than with your credit card.

Private Travel Insurance Cover in the Czech Republic

There are a number of world class private hospitals in the Czech Republic, but your EHIC will not cover for treatment here. If you have your own travel insurance which covers medical emergencies you may have more flexibility over where to be treated, and have the choice of a range of private hospitals. In non-emergency situations, being covered under travel insurance may mean you can be seen more quickly. Staff in private facilities are perhaps more likely to speak English. If you are taken to a private hospital, show them a copy of your travel insurance policy and contact your insurance company on their emergency helpline number. You may be expected to pay charges for treatment, tests and medication upfront and then claim them back at a later date. If this is the case, always ask for detailed invoices and receipts, in English wherever possible.

Remember too that EHIC will not cover you for repatriation flights to the UK in the case of serious illness, and won’t cover additional travel or accommodation costs should you fall ill in the Czech Republic. Neither EHIC nor travel insurance will cover you for cosmetic procedures, and if you suffer from health issues you should be upfront and honest with your insurance company to make sure you are properly covered while overseas.