The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a must when travelling to Hungary but it has to be remembered that every country has its own interpretation of reciprocal healthcare agreements. That is why, not only should you be aware of these, but you should also take out adequate travel insurance. An annual travel insurance policy is a great option for those people who make regular trips abroad, to Hungary or other European countries. |
What Does The EHIC Cover in Hungary?
With regards Hungary, here is an insight into what the EHIC covers you for and how the reciprocal agreement works. As many people would assume, medical treatment can only be obtained from GP surgeries that have a contract with the state healthcare system, known as the Országos Egészségpénztár Penztar (OEP). Be wary when getting your travel representative or hotel staff to book an appointment for you as they may immediately assume you would prefer to go private, meaning an EHIC won’t suffice when offsetting costs. A minimum mandatory charge will be requested anyway but this is only a small sum. Most countries have a policy that requires a payment for healthcare, even if you have a single trip or annual travel insurance policy along with an EHIC. Be sure to get a doctor’s referral in Hungary, if you require further treatment at a medical centre.
Hungary provides a free emergency ambulance service but when you arrive at the hospital and have no doctor’s referral, as is likely if you have called the ambulance in an emergency situation, you will be charged an additional 30% on top of the normal charge. With an EHIC alone, this is non-refundable but your annual travel insurance or indeed your single trip policy may well refund this for you.
Even with a valid EHIC and single trip or annual travel insurance policy, prescriptions need to be paid for up front in Hungary. Your EHIC qualifies you to only pay the standard fee, which is non-refundable. Your travel insurance may well allow you to redeem this cost but you need to check your policy.
Remember then that if the issue is not an emergency, book in to see a doctor first and get a referral to a hospital should you need one. Costs of treatment will then be significantly lower with an EHIC.
Some Extra Information
If you are travelling with children, make sure you have covered them with a single trip or annual travel insurance policy too. Even though children under the age of 18 with a valid EHIC are exempt from paying the standard treatment charge there are other fees that could be incurred.
Dental treatment is available at a subsided rate as long as you are careful to choose a dentist that is covered by the OEP.
It is useful to be aware that doctors’ surgeries open during the week, usually from 8am to 6pm. Out-of-hours periods and weekends are covered by 24 hour medical services that different surgeries and health centres provide.
And finally, private treatment is not covered by the EHIC, but instead may be covered by private single trip or annual travel insurance policies.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore. We provide low cost travel insurance and offer a range of policies including annual travel insurance, single-trip, multi-trip and family insurance. For all your travel cover needs, InsureMore can help you in the quickest and most cost-efficient way.
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