Friday 26 April 2013

European Health Insurance Card

Going away on holiday?

Staying within the European Union?

Then you will need a European Health Insurance Card. This card now replaces the old E111 card that you may have been issued with previously.

The European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC) is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme of any of the EEA countries and Switzerland can receive medical treatment in another member state for free or at a reduced cost, if that treatment becomes necessary during their visit (for example, due to illness or an accident), or if they have a chronic pre-existing condition which requires care such as kidney dialysis. The intention of the scheme is to allow people to continue their stay in a country without having to return home for medical care; as such, it does not cover people who have visited a country for the purpose of obtaining medical care, nor does it cover care, such as many types of dental treatment, which can be delayed until the visitor returns home. It only covers immediate healthcare which is normally covered by a statutory health care system in the visited country, so it does not render travel insurance obsolete.

A smartphone application called "European Health Insurance Card" is available for iOS, Android and Windows mobile, which includes information in 24 languages on how to use the European Health Insurance Card in all the participating countries. It includes general information about the card, emergency phone numbers, covered treatments and costs, how to claim reimbursement and who to contact in case you have lost your card. It does not replace the card, which is still needed.

Now if you go on line to register for one of these cards there is a problem. Do a Google search on "The European Health Insurance Card" and a whole list of links are provided. It is important to choose the correct one. We applied for one of the new cards a few days ago, there is no cost involved. However a friend of ours did the same and chose a different link. She filled in her details then she was prompted to pay a £29 pound fee. The details requested are exactly the same details that you fill in online in the free site. Afterwards when she realised her mistake she rang the company and spoke to the operator - who was located in the USA. 

European Health Insurance cards are provided free to all citizens of participating countries. There are however various businesses who act as non-official agents on behalf of individuals, arranging supply of the cards in return for a payment. This has proved extremely controversial and the British government moved against companies that invited people to pay for the free EHIC card, falsely implying that through the payment the applicant could speed up the process. Despite this, the practice still continues.

The correct link to use is :



  1. It isn't only a problem here, there are also many companies on the 'net who offer their services for a fee, to obtain visas on your behalf, when, in many cases, such as the Australian one, they are free. You have to ensure you land on the correct website after a search. Also, relating to the health card, it should always be carried on the person at all times, as without it to hand in the event that it is needed, no claim can be made if, for example, it is sat in your hotel room when needed. Apparently it is invalid unless present at the time when required to use.

    1. Hello peter and Margaret.

      A good bit of additional info provided there.

      We always have additional travel insurance and other documents with us. I have a health passport that lists all my jabs that I have had in the last 10 years and info about my pacemaker. However, the temptation is to leave such documents in the hotel for safe keeping.

      The EHIC will be kept in my holiday wallet alongside a couple of old credit and debit cards that are used as a muggers prize.



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