Health Treatment Overseas: What You Need to Know

When you go abroad, whether for a holiday, business trip or special occasion, one of the main things to consider is healthcare. You will have your own arrangements in your home country for healthcare – in the UK, for example, you have the NHS – so you don't have to think about what you would do if you need to see a doctor. But things get trickier when you go overseas.

This is where you may need to think about getting an EHIC, also referred to as the EU medical card. So what do you need to know about getting health treatment abroad?

Free Healthcare in the EEA Area

If you live in an EEA country and you are travelling to another EEA country, you can get access to free healthcare through the EU medical card - the EHIC. If you are in the UK, you can order yours from the NHS website.

It is completely free and provides you with the same level of healthcare a resident of that country would receive from the government.

Standard of Healthcare Abroad

The main question you may want answered is what standard of healthcare you can expect; the answer is that it depends on the country to which you are travelling. State healthcare varies, and some countries provide a very high level of care compared to what you are familiar with. Others provide a much lower level.

One thing to remember is that it may not cover everything for free. Dental treatment, for example, may have a cost involved, as may a prescription. You'll have to research the country you are visiting; again, the NHS website is an invaluable resource.

Do You Need to Bother with Travel Insurance?

Many travellers think when they get an EU medical card that they do not need to worry about private travel insurance. But this is not the case. Travel insurance is never a requirement - it is always your decision - but it is certainly advised, as it provides extra protection while you are overseas. For example, it will usually provide private healthcare, which can be far superior to public, depending on the country you are visiting. It also usually provides repatriation costs, so if you end up in hospital and require long-term treatment, you can fly home instead without having to pay for it. And then there are all the other benefits like cancellation cover and cover for personal belongings, just to name two.

Travel with Confidence

It's very important to plan properly for your trip overseas. That means making sure you have arrangements in place for your healthcare, and knowing what you are entitled to. You should take both an EU medical card and private travel insurance. Some insurers will waive the excess when you make a claim if you also have your EHIC , and it will definitely give you more peace of mind that you are covered in any eventuality.

Tips For Shopping Online

1. A great way to stay safe when you shop online is in order to avoid clicking any web addresses that are sent into your email. If you are expecting an email from a company, visit the actual website and do not click any links. Legitimate businesses do not send emails requesting personal information or account information.

2. When shopping online, most places only accept debit or credit cards. Take this into account when you are choosing a site to look from. Should you don't feel relaxed providing the company with your credit card information, look for another site. Try to find a website that offers a secure page when you're adding your credit card information.

3. If you are planning to be shopping on the web, make sure that you practice it from a computer connection you know is secure, like the one which you have in your own home. Hackers try to find WI-Fi connections in public places when they are scouting for victims, so avoid shopping when using them.

4. When you are shopping online, make sure that you are just shopping on secure websites. Look in the web site URL plus it should display "https" rather than the usual "http" at the beginning. Also have an up-to-date copy of anti-virus running on your computer as well. This will ensure that you have a safe online shopping experience.

5. Many online shopping sites offer discounts if you use a "promotion code". These codes are often found online simply by entering the words "coupon code" along with the manufacturer or name of the website you will be buying from. They may offer a percentage off or free shipping just by entering within a simple code which can be easily found by investing a few minutes trying to find it.

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