Travellers urged to check validity of European Health Insurance Cards

Holidaymakers are being warned to check they have a valid European Health Insurance Card, or they could risk being left without protection when travelling on the continent.

According to figures released by the Department of Health, around three million European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will expire in March 2009.
The card entitles people to reduced-cost or free healthcare in most European countries, should they fall ill or have an accident while abroad.

Dr Hilary Jones, GMTV’s resident GP, said: “I’m concerned that so many holidaymakers have no idea that their EHIC will expire. If you’re travelling in Europe it’s vital that you carry an EHIC, as well as comprehensive travel insurance . If you become ill or get injured on holiday, the last thing you want to be thinking about is paying unnecessary medical bills, which could cost thousands.”

Health minister Dawn Primarolo commented that anyone travelling with an expired EHIC was putting themselves at risk as they would not be covered for basic medical care .

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