Heading to Europe on a well-deserved holiday? Don’t forget to apply for your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before departure.
Public benefits stop the second you leave your home country, so it is important that you have the EHIC in place to avoid being hit with a massive and unexpected medical bill. Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC…
What is the EHIC?
The EHIC is the card that has replaced the old E111. The EHIC is a more streamlined version of its predecessor, and is used by its holder to access state-run health care systems in many European countries at a substantially reduced cost.
What does the EHIC provide the cardholder?
The EHIC allows holders to access medical care in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland at a lower cost (in some cases, for free). Note that it does not cover procedures done in private health care facilities, or elective surgeries that are often sought out by medical tourists.
It covers a portion of (or all) medical bills in public hospitals for emergency care or routine medical check ups.
Does my EHIC cover health care for my children?
No. Every individual that is traveling within the countries of Switzerland and the EEA needs to have their own card when they are seeking medical care in a publicly run health care facility. Your EHIC only covers your own medical needs.
As such, you will need to apply for cards for each of your dependents before leaving on a trip through Europe.
How can I apply for my own EHIC?
The most efficient way to apply for your EHIC card is through the internet. There are a number of providers such as https://www.ehic-card.org.uk that make the process significantly easier for busy professionals, as there is tons of tricky paperwork that applicants are required to complete.
With express services with a turnaround of less than 48 hours available, those panicking at the last minute will also be well served by online EHIC application agencies.
Another benefit of going this route: these companies have extensive experience in helping customers will out their forms, so they know when critical info is missing or inaccurate. This allows them to alert applicants immediately, saving tons of times that would be otherwise wasted when the NHS rejects an application on the basis of insufficient information.