European Health Insurance Cards Explained

European Health Insurance Cards Explained

This guide will give you all the information you will need to know about European health insurance cards (EHIC) if you’re thinking about going on holiday in Europe and want to know that your healthcare is sorted in case of an emergency.

  • Applying For An EHIC:

EHICs are free and you will need to apply for one on the NHS website, as there are some false websites charging for EHICs. Go to the official NHS website Here to apply for an EHIC.

What It Covers:

An EHIC covers some of the costs regarding your healthcare whilst overseas in Europe. EHICs will not cover all of the costs however. EHICs will allow you to receive the same treatment as the local population would receive. You will still be expected to pay for the treatment there, but you will be able to claim a refund for some of the costs. To be refunded you will need to keep all paper work you are given whilst getting treated, you will also need to call the NHS overseas team at 0191 218 1999 and complete a receipts and treatment form. Some travel insurance will refund the remaining amount that the EHIC didn’t refund to you. You will need to check with you travel insurance provider to see if they will refund you as well.

Where It Can Be Used:

You can use a EHIC anywhere in the ‘European Economic Area’. There are some countries outside which will accept EHICs to get free or reduced payment.  You can find a full list of countries which apply Here. The cards cannot be used in privately run Hospitals or dentists, they need to be state run medical practices.

How to use it:

Whilst there, you should show your card to the doctor, nurse or dentist to get reduced or free healthcare. You will need to make sure that the practice you are in is not privately run as they won’t accept it and you will be charge full price, with little to no chance of getting a refund. You will need to show your card and make sure the medical practice accepts it before you receive treatment, as they might reject it and you will be forced to pay full price.

When to use it:

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) say that you should mainly use it when you are undergoing routine treatment such as getting medication, infections and toothache. If you don’t need to make a claim with your EHIC after treatment, the ABI says you should still inform your insurance company to let them know you have had treatment. More sever treatment should be handled by your travel insurance. This will allow you to get refunds on a greater number of things. This includes refunds on flights, transport to the medical practice, as well as the treatment.

Other Information:

The card is valid from the date of your application and for 5 years after.

If you lose you EHIC whilst abroad, you can apply for a replacement certificate by contacting the NHS at 0191 218 1999. Details you will need to get a replacement include your name, address, age and your NI number.

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