is the EHIC?
Possession of a
valid E111 form acts as a document of proof that
you are entitled to free or reduced cost
emergency medical treatment within the European
Economic Area (EEA).
This area covers
member states of the EU and Iceland,
Liechtenstein and Norway. By carrying this
form in the case of a medical emergency, you are
entitled to the same treatment as natural
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What is an EHIC Form?
An EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a document of proof entitling the valid bearer to free or reduced cost emergency medical treatment. By carrying an EHIC you will be entitled to the same medical treatment as natural citizens in the event of an emergency. It is important to stress that you will not be entitled to free medical treatment within all these countries if you require any other form of medical attention.
What Happened to the E111 Form?
The European Health Insurance card replaces the E111 form which ceased to be valid from 31 st December 2005. Commencing 1 st January 2006, the EHIC is now the necessary document for your entitlement to free or reduced emergency medical treatment within the European Economic Area.
Where is a European Health Insurance Card valid?
All UK residents are entitled to free or reduced cost emergency medical treatment within European Economic Area which covers the member states of the EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Who is entitled to a European Health Insurance Card?
All UK residents and nationals are entitled to travel with an EHIC. In addition, other eligible parties include nationals of all other EEA countries, stateless persons or refugees and widows receiving a UK state pension or widow benefit from a late husband who, at the time of his death, was a national of an EEA country.
Who is covered by a European Health Insurance Card?
An European Health Insurance Card covers you, your spouse and your dependent children up to the age of 16, or, if they are still in full time education, up to the age of 19.
How much does a European Health Insurance Card cost?
Nothing, EHIC’s are free.
Do I have to get another European Health Insurance Card the next time I travel abroad?
No, EHIC’s are valid indefinitely so once you've had your first form validated you need never apply again. The only occasion you are required to re-validate a new EHIC is in the event that you change your permanent address.
Can I use a European Health Insurance Card as a replacement for Travel Insurance?
No, an EHIC is not intended to be a cheap alternative to travel insurance, and is only of use in an emergency medical situation. We strongly recommend that you always purchase an insurance policy to cover the full duration of your trip and do not recommend that you rely on an EHIC to provide medical cover whilst abroad. Do not assume that the health care standards in the country you are visiting will meet the same high standards you are used to in the UK.
Will I have to pay for medical charges upfront in any countries?
Yes, although in essence EHIC’s are intended to provide free emergency cover to UK citizens abroad, each of the EEA countries adopts different policies, so in some countries you may have to pay for medical attention up front and then reclaim your costs when you get home.
How do I apply for a European Health Insurance Card?
You can apply for an EHIC online, by phone, or by post. Whichever method you choose to make the application, before you apply you will need to have the following information available:
- Applicant’s name and date of birth.
- NHS or National Insurance (NI) number.
To apply by phone, call 0845 606 2030 and have the information listed above ready. When your application is completed, your card will be delivered within 10 days.
To apply by post, pick up the EHIC form and pre-addressed envelope from the Post Office. Your card will be delivered within 21 days. For a nominal fee, the Post Office will check your completed application form and forward it for processing. This service is optional.
To apply online, go to: https://www.ehic.org.uk/InternetPROD/home.do
For more information about European Health Insurance Cards, please refer to the Department for Health's website at:
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