Nebraska News Desk

European Health Insurance Card (commonly known as EHIC)

May 09
00:21 2019

The European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC for short, can be used within the European Union and is a type of travel insurance. It cannot be considered as an alternative for private travel insurance. However, the EHIC and private travel insurance work great in conjunction with one another and a high percentage of insurance companies now class a valid EHIC as a necessary requirement to be insured by them.

The EHIC shares many similarities with its predecessor, the E111. The EHIC came in to effect in 2006 and is a direct replacement for the now defunct paper-based E111. As a result, the E111 is now invalid. If you still have an E111, it is important for you to make an application for an EHIC card.

A valid EHIC can be used in any country you are travelling to if it is within the European Economic Area (or Switzerland). The EHIC entitles you to access healthcare on the same grounds as a subject of the same country. You can claim a large deduction off any medical bills and in some cases even receive medical attention at no cost.

We are very fortunate in the UK for our free National Health Service. However, a lot of countries throughout the EEA don’t share the same standards that we are accustomed to in the United Kingdom. Therefore, it is imperative to have a thorough understanding of the healthcare systems and what is in place. It is also a good idea to find out what entitlements you can receive in the country you are travelling to.

The EHIC’s pros certainly outweigh its cons and is great to have at hand. It would provide cover if you were to succumb to illness or for any slips, trips and falls for example. There are some scenarios where you wouldn’t be covered by the EHIC. Rules, in relation to EHIC cover, vary by country. However, medical tourism is not covered by the EHIC in any country within the European Union.

The EHIC works on a one card per person basis. In other words, a single card provides cover for only the applicant who applied for it. If you don’t plan on travelling alone, each person must have their own individual card. This is also the case for any children regardless of their age.

A card is valid for a maximum of five years. If you already own an EHIC, we advise checking the expiry date of the card. This is so you have plenty of time to make an application and to receive your EHIC in the post before travelling abroad.

It is easy to assume that everything will run smoothly on your holiday. However, succumbing to illness or being involved in an accident could happen to any one of us. It is vital to prepare in advance. It can be very costly to receive health care during your time abroad. The last thing you want is to pay for an expensive medical bill or risk not being able to make any payment at all. Always make sure that your EHIC is valid and up to date before travelling.

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