Travel Insurance vs. European Health Card

Romanians traveling abroad have the possibility to cover the risks related to accidents or illnesses in 2 ways:

  • Completion of an optional insurance that can be concluded before leaving the country, respectively Travel Insurance
  • Owning the European Health Card

Thus, in order to benefit of health treatment abroad, the person traveling abroad has at his disposal two ways, respectively the medical insurance for travel and the European Health Card

A comparison between the two ways of providing treatment or emergency medical services abroad is provided in an issue recently published on the website of the Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF).

According to the ASF analysis, each of the two ways to cover medical risks has both advantages and disadvantages.

Specifically, as shown by the ASF analysis, the comparison of the two methods of medical insurance shows that:

– is an extended form of protection – is a minimal form of protection
– is sold by authorized insurance companies and can be bought by anyone; the buying process is fast (it can be also online) – is issued by the Health Insurance House belonging to each insured person, being accessible only to persons who contributed for at least five consecutive years to  Social Insurance (CAS)
– has a price (insurance premium), which depends on what the insurance contains – is available free of charge
– is valid for the desired period –   is valid for a period of up to two years
– is valid in all the states mentioned in the insurance policy, for the medical units wanted and included in the insurance – covers only medical services provided in public hospitals (state – if any) in the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland

– medical care, reimbursement of medical expenses, other facilities or services – according to the insurance policy


– health care and cost reimbursement under the same conditions as the citizens of the country you are in


– expenses are settled directly at the medical unit by the insurer or are reimbursed to the insured under the conditions of the insurance contract and within the limit of the insured amount


– expenses are reimbursed in accordance with the rules and limits applicable in the country where you have received medical treatment

– repatriations are covered –   repatriations are not covered
– the insurance must not be physically presented – the European Health Card must be physically presented
  – does not replace the health insurance

It is important to note that this European Health Card is issued free of charge only on request and has a two-year validity period starting in mid-March 2019.

The duplication of the validity period of the European Health Card is provided in the Law no. 45/2019 amending and completing the Law no.95 / 2006 on health reform, published in the Official Gazette on March 11, 2019 and which applies from March 14 2019.

As the normative act stipulates, the validity of the European Health Insurance Card is increased from one year, as it was until now, two years.

In order to be able to request such a document, the insured person must be up to date with the payment of the health insurance contribution.

Often, in the case of a medical emergency, a person who has completed a medical insurance for travel and is in a foreign country must go to the nearest hospital, then, within 48 hours of event, call the insurer’s assistance number and provide him with a series of identification data and details on the insurance policy and medical emergency.

At the same time, those who have to resort to medical services in other countries must keep all their bills, receipts and treatment sheets.

Travel insurance is, as the ASF explains in the recently published guide, an insurance that “provides protection for any kind of travel abroad for tourism purposes in order to study, work, participate in various sports competitions or any other activity “.

An important part of travel insurance is the coverage of medical risks. Therefore, depending on the insurance policy chosen, Romanians traveling abroad can benefit from medical assistance, medical consultations and treatments, ambulance services, emergency surgeries, hospitalization in recognized and recommended units by the insurance company, payment spending on pharmaceutical products, dental treatment (emergency only) and repatriation in case of death.

Additionally, in some situations, sanitary repatriation is possible. In short, this means that if a person is in a country with poor quality medical services and can not be treated in that country, she can request the transfer to a hospital in our country and the insurance company will bear (total or in part) transfer costs

In addition to medical risks, the travel health insurance also covers other risks.

Such an insurance policy may cover the cancellation of the trip for reasons not related to the one insured, the return from the journey due to the death, injury or illness of a first or second relative, the destruction of the dwelling and others, accidents occurring during sporting activities , jogging, hiking, tourist cycling) or during extreme sports (skiing, diving, snorkelling, wind surfing, riding, etc.), cancellation of the trip by the transport company, loss of flight or travel documents.

Loss of luggage is not included in a standard travel insurance, but is an extra-contractual option.