Do I have to pay for treatment if I get ill abroad?

It depends on which country you're going to and why you're there.

Countries in the European Economic Area (EEA)

When you visit a country in the EEA or Switzerland – either on holiday or on a business trip, for example – a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to treatment at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.

The rules are different if you move to an EEA country or Switzerland to live, work or study. Find out more about moving abroad and planning for your healthcare.

Countries outside the EEA

The UK has agreements with some countries outside the EEA to provide healthcare for visitors. Again, if you're planning to live or work there, different rules may apply.

Planning before you go

Different countries have different healthcare systems. Many countries expect patients to pay towards the cost of their treatment. Before you go, use the guides below to find out about the countries you're visiting.

You should also take out travel insurance to ensure you're fully covered, even if you have an EHIC.

Read the answers to more questions about travel health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 04/06/2015

Next review due: 03/07/2018