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This question was just raised among my friends who are having a similar accident. I will subjectivize the question for generality.

I am an European citizen. I am traveling in Europe, but unfortunately I left my EHIC card home. In my country, hospitals prefer to identify me by EHIC, but if I fail to show them they can compute my Social Security Number tax code to input it manually, as the EHIC card works as SSN card too.

Now I am in another European country, I have all my documents with me (local ID and passport as well), but forgot my EHIC/SSN card. I need to go hospital and will fail to show EHIC.

How do I fix this situation?

Will the hospital require me to pay a large bill? I can already prove I am an EU citizen and it is possible to get my EHIC information from my identity, so I hope the hospital in the hosting country will settle with my local National Healthcare, and eventually my NHS will send me a small bill according to my regulation.

In the specific: the patient is a Latvian traveling in Italy.

  • Is this rule about income-based fee the way it works where you usually reside? If that's the case, be aware that it does not necessarily apply while you are traveling, even if you were able to present the EHIC. – Relaxed Oct 17 '17 at 13:40
  • The income rule applies in my home country when I use the health services of my country. I know I must check with them what are the rules when I travel to foreign countries. In fact I rephrased to "send the bill according to local regulation". Assuming the income rules apply when you travel abroad (NHS settles with foreign HS and demand patient a small fee) is speculation – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Oct 17 '17 at 14:28
  • I understand. In fact, the EHIC part is relatively straightforward (in that respect): the country you are visiting is only supposed to treat you in the same way that it treats people living there. This means that if there is a copay, it applies to you as well. Your own healthcare system (or, possibly, a third-party private insurance) might cover your out-of-pocket costs (if any) but Italian healthcare providers will definitely not apply the Latvian rules. – Relaxed Oct 17 '17 at 14:32
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It's sometimes possible to get the hospital to confirm that you are covered through some national contact point and to have the relevant institution back in your country of residence (the NHS trust in that case?) fax a written confirmation. But a friend of mine in a similar situation did have had to pay bills upfront and claim the money later.

So the conclusion seems to be that your mileage may vary and the exact combination of countries and healthcare providers may matter. Do ask if they can somehow get a confirmation that you are in fact properly covered by the system. Some useful contact numbers are available through the official app.

Importantly, coverage is based on residency and/or affiliation to some specific healthcare system, citizenship does not matter as such. Similarly, the fees (including things like copays) depend on the country where you are getting care and not on your country of citizenship or residence.

  • Your last sentence is correct, however for simplicity I am assuming that since my country (not the affected person's) covers citizens and resident aliens, it implies citizen --> covered – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Oct 17 '17 at 13:40
  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ I am still unsure about some of the things you wrote in your question, “our” is very confusing. It might be more useful to focus on one scenario and specify exactly where “you” live, what your citizenship is and where you are or use phrases like “country of residence”. I am not aware of any country in Europe where citizens are covered no matter what (the difference is not resident aliens, it's non-resident citizens). – Relaxed Oct 17 '17 at 13:42
  • I have amended the question. I insist on keeping questions generic for being applicable to anyone traveling EU (so I removed some parts) but I disclosed the patient is a Latvian traveling in Italy – usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ Oct 17 '17 at 14:10
  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ I understand and I think my answer pretty much covers what you can say in general.] – Relaxed Oct 17 '17 at 14:22
  • It definitely depends on the exact combination of home country and healthcare provider. I have required medical assistance a few times when travelling in other European countries and I have never had to show my EHIC, but only provided my personal details. – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Oct 17 '17 at 14:26

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