Updated : 02/04/2014
If you need to go to a doctor or get hospital treatment during a trip to another EU country, having your European Health Insurance Card with you will simplify administration and reimbursement for public health care.
Remember that health care and social security systems vary from one EU country to another. In some countries you may have to pay the doctor or the hospital directly for treatment, while in others no money changes hands. You can get information about the national system of the country you visit online, from a national institution there, a National Contact Point, or through the EHIC smartphone application.
The European Health Insurance Card is accepted only by doctors or hospitals affiliated to the statutory health care system - private health care is not covered! If you use private health care, you may be able to claim reimbursement when you get home - but you should check your rights first, as reimbursement rules can vary!
Despite having a broken leg Ewa went on a business trip to another EU country. While there, her leg started to hurt, so she went to see a doctor. Back home, she received a bill for the treatment, which was not covered by her insurer under the EHIC system because the doctor had treated her as a private patient. Ewa was able to claim some money back from her insurer, but not all, since the cost of the treatment abroad was higher than in her own country.
Note that if you travel abroad specifically for medical treatment, different rules apply.