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What is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles UK residents to access to necessary, state-provided medical treatment, during a temporary visit in the European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland – at a reduced cost or free of charge. The EHIC is valid for five years. As a valued Premier Cover policyholder, you will have no excess to pay when the EHIC is used.

Please remember to take your EHIC with you when you travel and check that it is still valid, as you are required to present it for medical treatment. Each traveller will require a card. The EHIC will cover the costs of managing pre-existing medical conditions, maternity care or renal dialysis but it will not cover you if you are going abroad to receive medical treatment.

While the EHIC and your travel insurance policy work together when paying for certain medical costs, the EHIC does not act as a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

The EHIC is usually only accepted at state-funded hospitals. So if you need assistance urgently and could only get to a private clinic, the EHIC won’t be able to help. It doesn’t cover mountain rescue either.

The EHIC doesn’t always entitle you to get all state-provided medical treatment free of charge. It does entitle you to the same medical care as a local resident of the country that you are in, but this may not be as comprehensive as the NHS. In some countries, state-funded treatment isn’t entirely free and our policies will be able to help with the outstanding costs. What to do when using your EHIC is explained here by Which.

Countries Covered By The EHIC:

Austria, Belgium,Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus (not including Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Who Is Eligible For The EHIC?

Any individual who is a UK national citizen and normally resident in the UK is eligible for an EHIC. There are some restrictions depending on your nationality. Not all UK residents will be covered in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Denmark. For further information, please visit the NHS or the Department of Health website.

UK citizens employed by a UK company or self-employed in the UK, are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC to work in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. This will include any dependents for up to 12 months. Please contact HM Revenue and Customs if you require more information.

The EHIC will not cover you if you are moving abroad permanently or to work for a foreign employer.

To apply for the EHIC, you must be over 16 years of age. Residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not eligible.

Why Get Covered?

Should you fall ill or get injured while abroad the cost of health care can run into many thousands of pounds. As such it’s vital to take out a travel insurance policy that you can feel confident in and that gives you peace of mind that someone will be there to help when the unexpected occurs, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

I Have An EHIC card – Isn’t That Enough?

The EHIC card provides holders with the opportunity to access reduced cost, and sometimes free, healthcare when travelling to member countries in the European Economic Area or Switzerland. However, it is only valid for treatment offered under the state scheme in line with that provided to those that live in the country. And it doesn’t cover the cost of repatriation if you need to be brought back to the UK. It also doesn’t cover other items that a travel insurance policy can such as delay, baggage, valuables and cancellation costs.

However, if you use an EHIC card when accessing medical treatment abroad then we will waive your excess if you need to make a claim.

How Do I Apply For An EHIC?

There are three ways to apply or renew:

Apply online – via the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) website. This is the quickest way to apply for your EHIC and delivery is within seven days.

Apply by phone – call 0845 606 2030. Delivery is within 10 days.

Apply by post – Delivery is within 21 days. Complete a printed form (available from your local post office) and send it to:

EHIC Applications,
PO Box 1115,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE99 1SW.

There is no charge for the EHIC and to apply, you will require NHS or National Insurance Number/s, Surname, Forenames and the Date of Birth of each applicant. Every family member will need their own EHIC, which you can apply for at the same time (spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 or 19 if in full-time education).

Some people may be required to apply for the EHIC by post, for example, some non-UK nationals who are legally living in the UK. For more information, please visit the Department of Health website.