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Can I claim a refund if I have to pay for treatment abroad?

If you have a valid and up-to-date EHIC with you when you travel, and you need emergency health treatment, you may be able to claim back the full cost, or some of the cost, of your treatment. Carrying an EHIC helps to streamline and simplify payment and reimbursement procedures.

Will I have to pay for my emergency treatment?

The first thing you should do is check the reciprocal agreements that exist between the UK and the country you’ll be visiting, and whether you’ll be liable to make a patient contribution (co-payment) if you need emergency treatment there.

Remember, the EHIC is not an alternative to health insurance and is not accepted in the Channel Islands (including Guernsey, Alderney and Sark), the Isle of Man, Monaco, San Marino or the Vatican.

What is covered by the EHIC?

What the EHIC covers you for is the same treatment as a resident in that country. For example, if a resident has to make a contribution to the costs of dental treatment, prescriptions or a hospital stay, then so will you. If the treatment you require is free for residents, it will be free for you, too. If you have a genuine emergency, you can call 112 to be connected to the emergency services from your mobile phone or a landline, free of charge, anywhere in the EU/EEA.

How do I arrange reimbursement?

If you do have to pay for treatment, you have two options:

  • You can claim a reimbursement while you are in the country and be reimbursed there and then
  • You can wait until you return home, and ask for a reimbursement from your home health provider

How do I claim if I’m visiting the EEA or Switzerland?

You’ll need the original bill or receipt and a copy of the claim form. You can request a claim form by:

  • Calling 0191 218 1999 and selecting option 1 if you are calling from the UK
  • Calling 0044 191 218 1999 and selecting option 1 if you are calling from outside of the UK

You’ll need to return the completed form and your bill/receipt to the Overseas Healthcare Team.

How do I claim if I’m visiting a country with a reciprocal agreement?

If you wait until you get home, you’ll need to send the bill or receipt, plus a covering letter giving full details of the treatment required, to the Cross-Border Health Care (Policy) Team. They will contact the European healthcare authorities on your behalf to work out your reimbursement.

Can I claim for all my treatment?

You can’t claim if:

  • You went abroad seeking a particular medical treatment
  • You received private healthcare

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