Ensuring that you stay safe whilst traveling abroad is more than just important, it can act as a lifeline. Travel health insurance is a great option when it comes to covering you for your doctor’s visits and hospitalizations and means traveling with the knowledge that you have a plan in place should you require medical assistance gives you and your family so much peace of mind. While travel insurance is useful to cover you in case of any travel related incidents such as lost luggage and trip cancellations, carrying an EHIC card when you are setting off to visit a European country can offer you more in terms of health care benefits.
What is an EHIC card?
An EHIC (which stands for European Health Insurance Card) entitles the holder to receive reduced cost or free healthcare in any of the cards participating member states. This included the EEA and Switzerland (despite them not being part of the EU). Presentation of the card is required to receive treatment and it’s vital that the card is valid upon you jetting off.
Why was it introduced?
The EHIC came into effect in 2004 and was phased in over a period of two years when in 2006 it became the sole healthcare entitlement document for European citizens. It was created as a problem solving technique for how healthcare was to be provided across Europe for European citizens.
How can I apply for an EHIC?
Applying for an EHIC is straightforward and takes less time than people expect. Apply for your EHIC online and receive your card shortly after (it can take up to 10 days on average).
How long is the card valid for?
The EHIC is valid for 5 years, after which time it can easily be renewed online in the same way as when you first ordered one.
Can I use my E111 card?
The E111 was replaced by the current EHIC in place today and is no longer considered to be valid.
Do children need an EHIC card?
Children need to hold their own EHIC card and parents can apply for an EHIC card for them in the same way as they do for themselves.
Where can the EHIC card be used?
The EHIC card is currently accepted in 32 countries and covers the member states of the European Economic Area and Switzerland which also means that the EHIC is applicable in all EY states.
What does it cover?
The European Health Insurance Card allows you to receive treatment normally covered by the healthcare system in the EU country you are visiting. It’s not sufficient to replace travel insurance completely and you should always be sure to carry both an EHIC and comprehensive travel insurance.
What does Brexit mean for EHIC?
Currently it’s looking like Brittian will be leaving the EU in 2019 and one of the major factors of whether the EHIC will continue to remain available for Brits is whether we completely cut ties with the EEA. It’s possible that Switzerland who is not part of the EU will continue to accept the EHIC. No matter what the outcome of Brexit will mean for us in the long run, for now its imperative that you still have your EHIC card on you when moving through Europe.