Health Insurance-Outside the UK (for those with UK NHS coverage)
With my trip to Germany coming up I needed to secure my health insurance while I was there. Since the countries in the European Union are increasingly working together to promote a free flow of movement between the countries, they have set up a system for people with health coverage in one country to be covered for trips to other countries. This also works because most, if not all, of the countries in Europe have socialized medicine, so it is a little easier to run this kind of cooperation.

In the UK you need to send off for the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). To be eligible you have to be ‘ordinarily resident’ and have an NHS number. You can sign up for the card online (if you are a British citizen–at least when I looked), through the mail (you can get the forms at a Post Office), or by phone. I sent off our forms a couple of months ago and haven’t heard anything back, so I thought I’d call and check on it. They took my info and said they had no records of my form. 😦 I thought, here we go again, another British Gas-esqe problem. It surely can’t be easy doing something with the government, especially with insurance. However, he took all my family’s information and said we were covered immediately and would get our coverage cards in just a few days.

Insurance visiting the UK (for those without normal UK NHS coverage)
We’ve had a couple of friends’ family members have to use the medical system here in the UK while they were coming to visit from the US. We were delighted to learn that those coming to visit were given medical help free of charge. I don’t know the stipulations (only covered if coming to visit a ‘resident’ or all visitors). I’m image they wouldn’t have gotten coverage for regular coverage, but these went to the hospital. Fortunately, nothing was life threatening or serious but they were seen promptly with hardly any paper work.

Travel Insurance
Selling travel insurance here is very popular, and they sell it everywhere. I suppose it isn’t as necessary in the US because your insurance there will cover you no matter what state you are in, and I think most credit cards have some automatic basic types of coverage. But since most significant travel here is outside of your own country even if it is in the EU (things are still not that standardized), it seems to be the thing to do. I believe it typically covers lost property, and stuff like that.