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Applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in Slovakia

Whether you’re planning a city break to the exciting cultural city of Bratislava or a peaceful rural escape to the Slovak Karst caves or the Mala Fatra National Park, Slovakia is increasingly becoming a popular holiday destination for many EU citizens. But did you know that you can have access to Slovakian public healthcare on your trip for free with a European Health Insurance Card?

Make your trip to Slovakia completely stress free by applying for a EHIC, the European-wide recognised card that entitles you to free state-provided medical treatment in the country. Plus, what’s great about the EHIC is that it’s completely free. Simply apply online at ehic.org.uk or at the Post Office, and remember to keep your card safe while on your holiday.

Previously known as the E111, the EHIC basically treats you like a Slovakian citizen while you are travelling. So if you have an accident or a persistent health problem that needs urgent medical treatment, you can visit one of Slovakia’s public hospitals, present your EHIC and receive healthcare on the spot, without having to worry about the cost.

The EHIC covers all “necessary healthcare” you may need to ensure your holiday runs smoothly, meaning that you won’t have to leave your holiday or pay any up-front and excessive fees that come with private healthcare. Slovakia’s public hospitals have highly-quality physicians and English-speaking doctors that will be able to make you feel at home if something unforeseen happens while you’re on holiday.

If you do have to pay for some of your treatment, the EHIC also ensures that you are reimbursed for your payments as soon as you return home. However, this does not include private medical care and should you seek private treatment you will need to make sure this is covered by a separate travel insurance provider or risk having to pay for treatment yourself.

In an emergency medical situation simply present your physical EHIC, which is easy to carry around with you. The hospital will recognise the card and know exactly how to treat you. Overall, having an EHIC can save you a lot of money should you require any sort of medical treatment, but be aware that it does not cover mountain rescue or your return back to the UK. For most emergency situations, however, you are covered with an EHIC and can enjoy your trip to Slovakia without worrying about what will happen if you fall ill.

Emergency care is free for everyone in Slovakia, and applies to EU citizens with an EHIC. If you are refused care you have the right to insist to be seen with an EHIC. Please note that some services in Slovakia come with a small fee, so make sure you keep any receipts or paperwork to claim these charges back when you return home.

The handy new EHIC app is also perfect for travel. Download the app and access information anywhere at anytime, such as relevant emergency numbers and information about making a claim. But please note that this is not a replacement for your physical card, and to receive treatment you will need to have your card with you.

Top tip: The Slovakian word for hospital is “nemocnica”, a pharmacist is “lekaren” and the name of the Slovakian public health insurance system is “stomatolog”.

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