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European Health Insurance Card: almost 200 million Europeans already carry one

Almost 200 million Europeans already have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), according to the latest figures available for 2013. This represents more than half of the insured population in the EU. The number of EHIC holders is steadily increasing, with 8 million more citizens carrying it in 2013 compared to the previous year (+4%).

The EHIC, confirms that a person is entitled to receive medical treatment that becomes necessary on a temporary stay abroad from the host country's public healthcare system on the same terms and at the same cost as nationals of that country. The EHIC cannot be used to cover planned medical treatment in another country.

Hospitals that provide public health services are obliged to recognize the EHIC. In the vast majority of cases, patients presenting the EHIC receive the necessary healthcare. However, there have been cases of refusals, in general due to a lack of awareness on the part of healthcare providers. In case the EHIC is not accepted, patients should contact the relevant health authority in the country they are visiting. In case of further refusal, patients should request support from their home country's health authorities. Finally, if they still encounter problems, they should contact the European Commission, which can investigate the claims and raise the issue with the authorities of the country concerned.

Citizens should be aware that the card is issued for free by their national health insurance provider in the home country.

The EHIC application gives information about the card, emergency phone numbers, treatments that are covered and costs, how to claim reimbursement and who to contact in case you have lost your card. The app covers 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It is available in 25 languages.

More information: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=es&catId=559&newsId=2088&furtherNews=yes


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