If you’re planning a trip to Latvia or living in the country as an expat, it’s essential you have the correct health cover. If you or a loved one becomes ill or is involved in accident whilst in Latvia, the last thing you need to consider is a huge bill you may face for medical care from a Latvian health provider.
The simplest way to make sure this does not happen is to apply for your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for yourself and you family prior to your travel. Your EHIC means that you can receive medical assistance in Latvia at a reduced cost, and feel more secure about you and your family’s health and wellbeing – it’s quick and easy to apply!
How does the EHIC work?
If you are a UK resident, you can apply for your EHIC online prior to your travel to Latvia. Once you have received your card, you will be entitled to any necessary healthcare you require whilst in Latvia. The EHIC card allows EU citizens travelling within EEA member states to receive such health care on the same grounds as nationals of the state they are in.
In order to receive treatment in Latvia, each member of your family will require their own card, and the card will usually remain valid for three to five years.
In terms of precisely what treatment you can receive, it is anything deemed to be ‘necessary’ that has occurred either because of an accident or illness. If the treatment could wait until you returned to the UK it will usually not be covered by your EHIC.
This includes any pre-existing illness you may have, but you will not be covered if you travel to Latvia with the purpose of receiving medical care. However, if you require dialysis or oxygen, this is covered so long as it is prearranged by your doctor prior to travel.
Because you will be entitled to health care on the same grounds as a Latvian national, this means that where a cost would be incurred by a Latvian national for medical treatment, a UK citizen with an EHIC card will be required to pay this cost. Or where medical care is free for Latvian nationals, you will receive this treatment free of charge when you have your EHIC.
Should I get an EHIC card to travel to Latvia?
Whilst it is always prudent to get travel insurance, there may be certain things that your travel insurance can miss. For example, you may be excluded from cover because of a pre-existing condition or illness, or because of your age. This is not the case for the EHIC, as all UK residents are eligible.
Furthermore, having your EHIC can make the process of receiving medical care in Latvia much more simple. In order to ensure you and your family are covered, apply for your EHIC before you travel to Latvia.