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UK: 3M People At Risk With Outdated EHIC's

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

UK residents travelling in Europe should check the renewal date on their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), as 3.3 million will have expired by end of March, the Department of Health urged today.

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The warning comes as new figures show that only 292,089 people have renewed their EHIC to date, leaving more than 3 million people with an out-of-date card.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: "Anyone travelling with an expired EHIC is putting themselves at risk - they will not be covered for basic medical care. It is vital that UK residents holidaying in Europe carry their EHIC and take out adequate travel insurance to avoid having to pay out unnecessarily for medical costs that could be covered by a valid EHIC."

The EHIC, which replaced the E111 form in 2005, entitles people to reduced costs or free state-provided healthcare in most European countries should they fall ill or have an accident. The EHIC can be renewed online or over the phone and will be delivered within ten days; it can also be renewed up to six months in advance of expiry.