Having a European Health Insurance Card is very sensible when you travel to another European country. Filling out the EHIC form is easy on the official NHS site, and the card will enable you to get free or reduced-cost healthcare in countries within the EEA. However, it should not be seen as a replacement for private travel insurance as there are a number of things it does not cover.
One very important thing that the card does not cover is medical repatriation. Repatriation is when you are hospitalised abroad and want to travel back home to receive treatment but you cannot travel unassisted. In this case, you may require specialised transport to return home. Although the card should cover your hospital treatment, you will have to pay your own transport costs to return to the UK, and this can stretch to many thousands of pounds. It doesn't have to be an issue, however, if you've purchased a private travel insurance policy, as it can be included in the cover. (Of course, you should always check your policy to understand what is and isn't included.)
You May Want to Receive Private Medical Care
When you fill out the EHIC form and receive your card, you should be aware that you only have access to state medical care in your destination country, which can be of a lower level of treatment than you are used to. To ensure you have access to private medical facilities, you will definitely need to have your own travel insurance.
Many Other Things Are Not Covered
There are many other things that are not included on the EHIC but which are included in private travel insurance. For example, you can get cover for trip cancellation, lost or stolen personal belongings, delayed departure and more. If you're going skiing, you can get search and rescue cover included as well as medical, and if you're going on a cruise you can get specialist cover that will provide an air ambulance service to take you to the nearest land-based hospital.
All these things (and more) can be included on a private travel insurance policy, so it is worth considering which of these are important for you. While it's very important to fill out the EHIC form and apply for your card, it should never be considered as a replacement for private cover.
A Perfect Pair
Once you have filled out the EHIC form on the official NHS website , do some research on private travel insurance cover so you can travel abroad with complete peace of mind and total protection against any eventuality.