The card gives access to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from state healthcare providers. This includes treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your visit.
It includes routine maternity care (not only because of illness or an accident), as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth. However, if the birth happens unexpectedly, the card will cover the cost of all medical treatment for mother and baby that is linked to the birth.
The card covers the provision of oxygen and kidney dialysis, although you will have to arrange and pre-book these treatments before you go on holiday.
You can ask your GP or hospital for advice, but make sure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC. The card also covers routine medical care for people with pre-existing conditions that need monitoring.
The card is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. Therefore, it is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy. Some insurers now insist that you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one.