The EHIC is one of the most important documents for citizens of European Union member states. It stands for the European Health Insurance Card and is an essential tool when you are traveling abroad in Europe. The card covers certain medical costs while you are away, ensuring that if you do require healthcare, it will be provided without charge or at a reduced cost.
It can be used to cover medical treatment that is necessary while you are abroad and if the treatment would have been available on the NHS in the UK. This includes treatments from an accident or illness, as well as any pre-existing conditions. The EHIC also covers routine maternity care, provided it is needed during your stay.
How Does The EHIC Work?
The EHIC allows you to access healthcare in the same way as a resident of that country. You can use it at any public hospital or health care provider who accepts it and is not restricted to certain facilities. It does not cover the costs of private medical treatment, however, so if you choose to go private then all associated costs will need to be covered by yourself.
In order to get an EHIC card, you will need to contact your local health authority and fill out an application form. Once processed you should receive your card within ten working days and as soon as you receive it in the post, make sure that you keep it safe! Your EHIC is valid for up to three years, depending on your country of residence and the rules applicable.
Using your EHIC is simple; when you are traveling abroad all you need to do is show the card at your point of care and ask for treatment under the EHIC scheme. Then once you have been treated, a bill will be sent directly to the health authority in your home country.
Who Can Get An EHIC?
The EHIC is available to all citizens of an EU member state, as well as those from Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. It can also be used by family members of these countries who are traveling with you, provided they have their own card.
It is important to remember that the EHIC does not replace travel insurance! While it covers certain medical costs when abroad, it does not cover additional expenses such as lost or stolen luggage and emergency repatriation. Therefore any additional trip-related costs should still be covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
The EHIC is an incredibly useful tool for those traveling in Europe. With access to healthcare in over 30 countries, it provides peace of mind when abroad and is an essential item for any traveler to have. So make sure you apply for your EHIC before leaving home to ensure that you are fully covered in the event of illness or injury.
Which Countries Are Covered by the EHIC?
The EHIC covers the 27 member states of the European Union as well as the EEA countries which include Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. Switzerland also participates in the EHIC scheme but does not issue cards itself; instead, you must obtain a form from your local Swiss health insurance provider.
The EU member states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
The UK, since its exit from European Union on Feb 2020, is no longer part of the EHIC scheme. The country now uses GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) to cover healthcare expenses while traveling in EU countries.
How Do You Apply For An EHIC?
Applying for an EHIC is quick and simple. All you need to do is contact your local health authority and ask for an application form. Once you have completed the form, it should be returned along with two forms of identification (passport or driver’s license).
As soon as your application has been processed, you will receive your card in the post within ten working days.
Remember that your EHIC can be used across Europe so make sure that wherever you travel; you take your card with you. The European Health Insurance Card is an essential item for any traveler and can provide much-needed peace of mind should you find yourself in need of medical help abroad.
It is important to note that while it covers most medical care, it does not replace International health insurance. As such, you should still take out a suitable policy when traveling abroad.
Why Isn’t The EHIC An Always Enough?
Although the EHIC is a great tool to have when traveling in Europe, it is not always enough. It can only be used for public health services and cannot be used for any other services, such as private healthcare. It also does not cover repatriation, so you may need to take out a comprehensive insurance policy that will cover any additional costs.
It is also worth remembering that the EHIC only covers those traveling within Europe, so if you are traveling further afield then travel insurance is essential. In addition, certain treatments are only partially covered by the card and any co-payments would need to be made by yourself.
Finally, there may still be restrictions depending on which country you are visiting and what type of treatment is required. Some countries may only allow access to public health services and may not offer any private options. Therefore, it is important to research the healthcare system in your destination before traveling.
EHIC Card Renewal
The EHIC card is valid for one to five years, after which it will need to be renewed. To renew the card all you need to do is contact your local health authority and request a new application form. Once completed and returned, you should receive your new card in the post within ten working days.
In summary, the European Health Insurance Card is an invaluable tool for anyone planning on traveling in Europe, providing access to reduced-cost healthcare when abroad. However, it should still be supplemented with a suitable travel insurance policy as it does not always provide enough coverage in the event of illness or injury abroad. So make sure you get your EHIC before leaving home and enjoy peace of mind knowing that you are protected wherever your travels take you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the EHIC valid in all European countries?
A: Yes, the EHIC is valid in all European countries that are part of the European Health Insurance Card program.
How long does it take to receive an EHIC?
A: It normally takes up to ten working days to receive your card once you have applied for it.
Can I use my EHIC for private healthcare services?
A: No, the EHIC is only valid for public healthcare services and will not cover any private medical treatments.
Can I travel without an EHIC?
A: Yes, you can travel without an EHIC but it is not recommended as it will not cover any medical expenses you may incur. It is strongly advised to take out a suitable travel insurance policy before traveling.
What happens if my card gets lost or damaged?
A: You should contact your local health authority immediately to request a new card. They will be able to advise you on the process and provide information on how to replace your card.