European Health Insurance Card – What is it and how to get one?


What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

The European Health Insurance Card replaced the E111 in 2006. The card allows you to get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free in most EU countries. You will be covered for treatment that is needed whilst you are travelling that allows you to continue your stay. For example, seeing a local GP for a small complaint, or getting over the counter medication for a health issue.

Having the EHIC means that you will get the same medical treatment as the citizens of the country you are visiting. So, if they get free healthcare, you will too. Or if they have to pay for healthcare, you will pay the same rates as they do.

The European Health Insurance Card is NOT an alternative to travel insurance. You will not be covered by the card like you would your travel insurance. The EHIC provides valuable extra protection, for example, you may not have to pay an excess if you were to claim on your travel insurance for medical treatment. It is important that you have both.

Cancellation, repatriation, baggage loss etc. are NOT covered by having a health card.

Who can get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

Anyone that is a resident of the UK and is of British, other EU/EEA or Swiss nationality. If you are of another nationality, then you must provide sufficient evidence to show that you are a resident in the UK.

How to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

There are several ways to register for an EHIC:

  1. Apply online on the EHIC website
  2. Call 0300 330 1350
  3. Print the application form from the NHS website, fill it in and sent it to the address provided.

Things to remember:

  • Children must have their own card. You must be 16 or over to apply for a card, so for anyone younger than this, a parent or guardian must apply on their behalf.
  • The EHIC is valid for up to five years. Always check validation before you travel to avoid being caught out.
  • It usually takes between 7 – 10 days for the card to arrive (which can be longer for posted applications), so always leave enough time before travelling for it to arrive when you first apply.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, you can call 0300 330 1350 to replace it.
  • If you have an E111 card, this is no longer valid. The European Health Insurance Card replaced the E111 in 2006. An E111 will need to be replaced by an EHIC.
  • You must keep your card on you at all times when travelling. If you find yourself without it, then you may be able to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate sent over to where you are being treated. This can be done by calling the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on 0044 191 218 1999.

If you are looking for help finding the right travel insurance policy for you, then get in touch with Bob’s friends today for a quote: