Whenever you travel through the European Economic Area you should make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card, this will entitle you to the same level of healthcare as a resident of that country would, without paying through the nose for it. It’s one of those things that you will hopefully never have to use, but you’ll be glad you have it in the worst case scenario. The EEA consists of all 28 (existing) member countries of the European Union plus Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
An EHIC is free for everybody as long as they are an ordinary resident of the United Kingdom and you must be of British, EEA or Swiss descent. Once applied for it is valid for up to five years. After that you would need to renew it, but even then it is just as easy and still free to all.
The fastest and easiest way to renew your European Health Insurance Card is online. All you need to do is enter your full name, date of birth and National Insurance number into the online application form. Everybody needs their own individual card so if you are a parent or guardian you can also apply for EHIC’s for each of your children and your spouse or partner.
If you prefer you download an application form from the NHS Choices website, print it off and then fill it in the classic way. You can also phone the official EHIC service on 0300 3301350 and have an application from sent to you. Completed forms should then be sent to:
NHS Business Services Authority
European Health Insurance Card
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Once you’ve received your EHIC you can tuck it away in your purse or wallet and forget about as it is conveniently shaped just like a credit card or driver’s license. You can rest easy with the peace of mind whenever you need to travel to Europe for business or pleasure, and in the event of needing medical healthcare you will know you are covered.
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