Sick on vacation - who bears the treatment costs?

Who travels From and within the EU, should not forget his health insurance card. These vacationers are treated for free in case of illness. But what if the EU rule does not work? A foreign health insurance can help.

For months you are looking forward to the deserved holiday. The journey begins and already the big cold is there or the unfamiliar food makes the stomach go crazy. Or you even have the misfortune to get injured while on vacation. What now?

It is generally important to inform yourself sufficiently before you travel. Thus, a medical emergency does not hit the affected person completely unprepared.

Because whether sprained leg or spoiled stomach, a visit to a doctor abroad can be expensive - the most important questions and answers.

Does the statutory health insurance offer protection abroad?

In all countries of the EU (as well as in Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Croatia, and Macedonia) the insurance cover applies via the own statutory health insurance. For this, there is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It is located on the back of the electronic health card.

Who makes a holiday in an EU country should therefore not forget his health insurance card. It will treat a tourist in state hospitals and health centers free of charge. The EHIC is intended for urgent medical treatment of an unexpected medical condition abroad - for a middle ear infection, a broken leg or a flu, for example.

But beware: Holidaymakers are only entitled to benefits under the law of the country of residence. Under certain circumstances, these may be lower than in Germany. Some services are only partially or not taken over and the insured stays at the expense.

The same applies without additional insurance for the return transport from the resort to your home: For this, the coffers are basically not on, warns. Markus Meudt from Allianz Private Health Insurance.

What protection do privately insured persons have?

Privately insured persons generally enjoy their insurance cover agreed for Germany when traveling . Even abroad, they pay their treatment bills themselves first and can then reimburse the costs at home.

When is a foreign health insurance recommended?

"In principle, always," advises Sascha Straub of the consumer center Bavaria. "If you want to travel carefree to faraway countries, you should have a private travel health insurance in your luggage." A foreign health insurance closes gaps. It can cover the additional costs of a doctor's visit to other European countries.

Above all, if the holiday destination is outside of Europe, it is worthwhile to take out a health insurance abroad, because there is no insurance cover - unless Germany has concluded a social security agreement with the respective country. This is the case, for example, with Turkey or Tunisia.

In countries with an expensive healthcare system, such as the US, a foreign health insurance is indispensable. Markus Meudt from Allianz Private Health Insurance. If you are not insured, you have to pay for each service yourself. These costs can quickly get out of hand and even become life-threatening.

For members of a private health insurance, the conclusion of a foreign health insurance can also be beneficial to extend the usually limited to one to three months, worldwide protection, to minimize the deductible or possibly to cover the return transport.

What makes a good health insurance abroad?

A foreign health insurance is cheap. "But it's worth comparing prices and services," emphasizes Straub of the consumer center. There are special rates for families. "Beware, if a deductible is required."

Travelers should pay attention to comprehensive protection and that the contracts apply to several trips a year. With the most important point: the return transport. He should already be able to do it if he is medically "meaningful". According to some conditions, he must be medically "necessary".

When you take out your insurance, holidaymakers should also make sure that assistance is included: a 24-hour emergency service that will help find a specialist or hospital in the country of destination. The insurer's emergency center also clarifies the cost of a treatment, because not infrequently a patient is denied treatment if there is no insurance coverage or advance payment.

How do you find the suitable insurance?

Theoretically, insurance can even be completed online on the day of departure.

But to get comprehensive protection, travelers should seek independent advice and compare providers. Sascha Straub of consumer protection warns against concluding the insurance in the package with the holiday booking. "There you usually get no advice, since cooperations exist with insurance."

Anyone who already has insurance has thought ahead, but should ask the insurer, whether there are now better offers or benefits have changed. According to Stiftung Warentest, most insurers have significantly improved their offers in recent years.

And also Straub notes: "medically meaningful return transport, for example, only for a few years standard." An additional look into the old policy can be worthwhile.


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