It is always essential that you have the correct health cover whether you are living in Latvia as an expat or simply planning a holiday there. Should you or someone you are travelling with need medical attention, the last thing you need is to face large upfront medical fees. Applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is the best way to protect you and your family against this. Owning a valid EHIC will entitle you to medical assistance in Latvia at a reduced cost. You will also be able to have peace of mind when it comes to the well-being of yourself and your family.
Obtaining an EHIC is easy. If you are a UK resident, simply apply online before you travel to Latvia. Once you have received your EHIC card you, will have access to any health care you may need whilst in Latvia. The EHIC allows European Union citizens, travelling within European Economic Area member states, to receive health care on the exact same grounds as nationals of the state they are in. It needs to be noted that the card will only cover the holder. Each member of the family travelling with you will need their own EHIC Card. It is an invaluable asset to have considering the EHIC remains valid for up to five years.
The treatment you have access to depends upon what is deemed as necessary and what is not. You will have access to the medical treatment you require if either in the event of an accident or if you fall ill. However, if the treatment can wait until your return to the UK, you will not likely be covered by your EHIC, nor will you be covered if you travel to Latvia with the intention of receiving medical care. If you normally require dialysis or oxygen, this will be covered as long as it is prearranged by your doctor in advance.
Since a UK citizen with an EHIC is entitled to the same health care as a Latvian national, if you require treatment that would normally incur a cost by a Latvian national, you will also be required to pay this cost. Similarly, if you require treatment that would be free of charge to a Latvian national, you will not be required to pay for this treatment with your EHIC.
Although it should be noted that a European Health Insurance Card is not a replacement for travel insurance, there are certain things travel insurance can miss that are covered by an EHIC. For example, with an EHIC, you can still be covered regardless of your age or if you have any pre-existing medical conditions. All UK residents are eligible. However, this is not the case for travel insurance.
Having an EHIC to use in Latvia can take away a lot of the stress should you find yourself in need of medical assistance. Apply for your card in advance and you will be able to enjoy your travels more with the peace of mind of knowing that you and your family are covered.