|An EHIC is NOT enough say Embassy|
I have often talked about the importance of taking out adequate travel insurance when coming on holiday to Benidorm - which applies to everyone. Many rely solely on their EHIC - the free health insurance card, but this ONLY covers you in the case of an emergency.
By pure co-incidence, last night´s television documentary series on Channel 5, "Benidorm ER", which was filmed last Summer at the private Hospital Clinica Benidorm, highlighted exactly this senario. The first case was a lady by the name of Christine who had fallen and fractured her knee. She was advised by the doctor to stay overnight but refused as she was worried because she knew that her insurance wouldn´t cover it and she couldn´t afford the cost. The second and more worrying incident was of a young lad Jamie who jumped from a building and broke both of his feet. He was on holiday with his brother and had NO insurance at all! Their mother back in the UK paid around 1000 pound for him to be treated immediately, but because he had no insurance cover and no further means of paying, another ambulance was called to transfer him to the nearby Villa Joyosa Social Security hospital. Previous episodes have shown cases where pre-existing medical conditions had not been declared by the policy holder and the insurance refused to cover the cost of treatment needed.
The press release reads as follows:
Visitors to Spain could face a bill for thousands of pounds for medical treatment if they are taken ill or injured whilst staying with friends and family, the Foreign Office has warned. Yet one in ten over 55 year olds admit that they sometimes fail to take out travel insurance before going on holiday - even though more than half suffer from a medical condition.
Research for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office reveals that a third of over-55´s who sometimes fail to take out travel insurance do so because they are "only going on a short break". A quarter claim it´s too expensive, whilst nearly one in five think they don´t need insurance because they are visiting friends or family. Many also think they can avoid buying a policy because they are covered by their bank.
Equally concerning is that one in five who do have travel insurance then risk invalidating it by failing to declare an existing condition because they are on medication to manage it. Some 15% admit they wouldn´t update their insurance policy if they developed a medical condition or were prescribed new drugs for an existing condition.
Every year around 5000 British nationals, including over 55´s who have failed to take out insurance cover or have invalidated their policies, find themselves seeking assistance from consular staff in Spain. Some end up with life-changing bills of many thousands of pounds for expensive medical treatment or specialist repatriation to the UK. Dave Thomas, Consular Regional Director for Spain added: If you have over-55´s visiting you this year, tell them to get insurance before they travel. Taking out a comprehensive policy and declaring any medical condition may be an added expense but it´s a small investment compared to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong.
All British visitors to Spain also need a European Health Insurance Card, known as an EHIC. It is free to obtain. If you have an accident or become ill, you can get the necessary state-provided medical healthcare either free or at a reduced cost. But it is very important to realise that an EHIC does NOT cover all your medical costs, private treatment or repatriation to the UK. You still need travel insurance to ensure you are fully covered for all eventualities.
End of Press release.
|Travel Insurance - one of hundreds on the internet|
In a more worrying case, a holiday maker did not disclose a scan he had earlier in the year as it was clear, yet when he was taken ill on holiday months later he was landed with a 7,800 pound bill as the insurance wouldn´t pay because he had not told them about the scan.
Even if you are waiting for a hospital referral for ANY condition you must declare it - whether diagnosed or undiagnosed. If you can, email the insurance company listing all your pre-existing conditions and medications prescribed, including blood pressure and cholesterol tablets - it will then be on record incase there is any confusion over not having mentioned it. The insurance companies WILL find out trust me and try their best to avoid paying out.... and it will cost you dearly in the long run.
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