Everything you need to know about the EHIC

Everything you need to know about the EHIC.



How many of us know what the European Health Identity Card is for? According to a survey by the Association of British Insurers, most people don’t realise they need this card when travelling abroad. If you’re one of those, don’t worry. Here is everything you need to know about the EHIC.

Everything you need to know about the EHIC

What is EHIC?

The European Health Identity Card entitles European citizens to state medical treatment within the European country they are visiting.

Where is it valid?

The card is valid within all European Union member states plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Am I entitled?

If you are ordinarily resident in the UK then you are entitled to an EHIC. No health checks are made. British Nationals simply give their NHS or National Insurance number on application. Cards are issued individually so all family members, including children, must be applied for separately.

Where do I get it?

Apply online through the official EHIC website and the card will be sent to you. An EHIC has to be renewed every five years, so always check your card’s expiry date before travelling. An individual PIN number allows speedy renewal.

How much does it cost?

If you go through the official site, then your card is free. Some organisations may charge a service fee for processing your application.

How am I covered?

Your EHIC entitles you to medical treatment in any valid country, provided that the treatment is necessary and you have not taken up residence. EHIC covers you beyond a scheduled stay and includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and issues with pregnancy.

If you are specifically visiting a country for medical treatment or to give birth, then EHIC is not valid.

Do I still pay for treatment?

That depends on the treatment you receive and the country you’re visiting. As an EHIC holder, treatment costs are reduced and will sometimes be free. Even if you have to pay, you may be entitled to claim back.

Do I still need travel insurance?

Yes you do. EHIC is not a substitute for a travel insurance policy, and you and your family should be fully covered for every trip you make. Repatriation costs, specialist or private healthcare, and mountain rescue services are not covered by EHIC. In addition, an insurance policy should protect you against a cancellation, and damage or theft of your property.

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