Health and Fitness

Health insurance for short stays

Health insurance for short stays

Health insurance for short stays, If you, as an EU citizen, become seriously ill during a temporary stay in another- during your holiday, business trip, or studies –

you have the right to care that cannot wait until you return home. You have the same right to care as the inhabitants of the country you are visiting.

You must always bring your European Health Insurance Card (EU card) when you go abroad. It is concrete proof that you are insured in an EU country.

If you do not have an EU card or if you cannot use it (for example for private care), you can not be refused care. But you may have to pay on the spot and then seek compensation after returning home.

Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EU Card)

In some countries, the EU card is on the same card as the national health insurance card. In other countries, you have to apply for a card.

The card is free. You apply to your insurance office before you leave.


There are rogue websites where you can order a European health insurance card for a fee. Do not use these websites but contact your insurance office directly.

Also, check with your insurance fund if your health insurance covers your family members.

Read more about the European health insurance card in different countries:

The European Commission is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Special cases and exceptions

  • You who are not an EU citizen can only use your EU card for care in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland if you are a refugee and live in an EU country or are a co-insured relative of an EU citizen.
  • Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are counted as EU countries in the application of EU rules on the coordination of social security systems.
  • The card does not entitle you to rescue operations and home transport. If you want to be transported home free of charge if you become seriously ill or have an accident in another EU country, you must have travel insurance.
  • The card also does not apply to private healthcare or costs for planned care in another EU country.

Examples from reality

Get yourself a travel insurance

Sven from Herrljunga went to France on a ski trip. Already on the second day, he injured his knee on the ski slope and was rescued by the French rescue service. When he got home he got an expensive bill. Sven must pay the full amount because search and rescue efforts are not covered by the EU card.

Is there a complete list of the types of care covered by the European Health Insurance Card?

No – The European Health Insurance Card covers all necessary medical care or treatment that can not wait until you are back home after a stay in another EU country.

Who decides if a certain medical treatment is necessary?

It is the care provider who, with regard to your state of health and length of stay, decides whether a certain treatment is necessary and can not wait until you get home.

I did not receive an EU card from my insurance fund, only a provisional certificate. Does the certificate entitle me to the same medical care as the card itself during a temporary stay abroad?

Yes – The provisional certificate gives you the same rights as the European Health Insurance Card. But the insurance funds may not put in place systems to issue provisional certificates. It is only if you get rid of the card when you are abroad or travel at very short notice that you can get a certificate instead of a card.

Do I have to have travel insurance if I have a health insurance card?

No – You are not required to take out travel insurance when traveling within the EU. But the European health insurance card does not cover private care or costs for e.g. mountain rescue, lost or stolen property, or repatriation. Therefore, it is always best to have travel insurance as well.

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