Irish people heading on holidays should ensure they apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which could save them a lot of money should they need to use a hospital abroad.
According to figures provided to MEP Deirdre Clune by the HSE, just over 1.5 million people have the card in Ireland, which is much less than the number of people
MEP Deirdre Clune says that by holding a EHIC, Irish residents are entitled to get necessary healthcare through the public system in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if they become ill or injured while on holiday.
“There is always a chance that somebody could fall sick or have an accident while on holiday. Having a EHIC means that people living in Ireland but on holiday abroad can use public healthcare services to get any emergency treatment quickly and easily should they need to. It is important that people bring their EHIC card with them when going on holidays. It is free and can be obtained directly from the HSE or online. I would encourage people who are planning a holiday to ensure they apply for this card.”
The EHIC is available free of charge and confirms that an Irish person who is on holidays 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 recognise the EHIC. In the vast majority of cases, patients presenting the EHIC receive the necessary healthcare and are reimbursed without any problems.
“By having the card it could mean that you would save a lot of money on medical bills should you need to use a hospital abroad."