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EHIC – European Health Insurance Card – Explained

shutterstock_129203819 - Passport and EHIC Card

What is an EHIC Card?

If you’re a citizen of the EU, the EHIC Card – European Health Insurance Card – allows you access to state-provided healthcare at either a discounted price or free. This offers you the same cover as the local citizens are entitled to in the European Union – EU and European Economic Area – EEA.

Which Countries is the EHIC Card valid?

EU countries include:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

EEA – European Economic Area countries include:

All the EU countries above alongside Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.

*Please note* Switzerland have an agreement allowing them the same rights as EU Citizens.

Countries do not accept the EHIC Card

Monaco, San Marino, The Channel Islands including Alderney, Guernsey and Sark, The Isle of Man and The Vatican.

How Much will it Cost Me?

The EHIC Card is free to residents of the UK, and must be of British, EEA or Swiss nationality.

Does an EHIC Card Cover All of the Family?

Yes, all the family need an EHIC Card, however each traveller including children need to apply for their own individual card. This also includes children if they are under the age of 16.

How Do I Apply for an EHIC CARD?

To apply or renew your EHIC Card go to ► https://www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/startApplication.do. Be mindful when applying, as some unofficial sites may charge you. Alternatively you can apply by telephone – 0300 330 1350, this is an automated service and you will need either your National Insurance number or your NHS number – National Health Service – number to hand.

How Long is the EHIC Card valid For?

The EHIC Card is valid for 5 years. You may apply for a new one 6 months prior to the expiry date, however, it will not be extended beyond the 5 years and will still only have a validity of 5 years.

Does this Mean I Don’t Need to Have Travel Insurance?

The EHIC is by no means an alternative to travel insurance. Whilst it can offer you free or state-provided healthcare, it is worth bearing in mind that you may have to travel some way to receive treatment. And, if for any reason you were ill or badly injured and need to be back taken home to the UK, again this would not be covered under the EHIC Card. Remember travel insurance isn’t just for medical reasons, it can cover you for all sorts of eventualities.

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If you like this article, you may like, First Aid Kit Essentials for your Holiday.

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