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. Do more research around the online store you are looking at before ordering a product from them. If a store does not provide quality service or products, you will more than likely find some negative reviews published on other sites. It is best to adhere to online stores having an excellent reputation.

2. Pay close attention for potential sales online starting as soon as Wednesday. Many brick and mortar stores do sales on the weekends, and to compete, many internet retailers have moved their sales days up by several days. You can often find exceptional mid-week bargains with just a little online research.

3. Be careful where you submit your credit card information. When you find yourself shopping online, only use secure sites. These are sites that have taken steps to guard your valuable information. A secured website will begin with HTTPS as opposed to the standard HTTP. There can also be a locked icon, in both your address or status bar, based on which browser you use.

4. In case a company features a newsletter, sign-up. Often, companies will give sneak peeks, deals and discount codes to people on their own mailing list. However, be careful. You don't want to sign up for every company's newsletter or you'll soon be buried under endless emails. Only subscribe to a company's newsletter if you really like their products and services and would use a discount code.

5. If you shop frequently at a certain website or online store, it may be worth it to enroll in their email updates which usually have special deals and sales. This can result in savings for you as you may get a discount around the item as well as free shipping, which could add up to bigger savings if you purchase from the site often.

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