UK travellers warned to ensure health cards are valid

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Car Rental News - 20/10/2008


The Department of Health has said that millions of European Health Insurance Cards will expire soon.

An expired health insurance card would invalidate travel insurance for many UK holidaymakers, a recently-released report by the health department states.

Travellers have been warned to check that their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid before leaving on holiday.

The Department of Health has reported that around 1.5 million cards will expire before the end of this month, and another 1.5 million will expire next March.

The EHIC was introduced in 2005 to replace the E111, and allows the cardholder to receive medical treatment within the European Economic Area (EEA). If a traveller is not in possession of a valid EHIC, some travel insurance policies are invalid.

"Many Britons are putting themselves at unnecessary risk by not checking their EHIC expiry date," said the Department’s overseas health care programme manager, Paul Siddell. "If you're travelling in Europe it's vital that you carry an EHIC, as well as comprehensive travel insurance," he emphasized.

Around 28 million Britons have EHIC cards, and the Department of Health study says that half aren’t aware that the cards have expiry dates.

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