- All EU Member States, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, are covered by the EHIC.
- The European Health Insurance Card can still be used in the United Kingdom after Brexit, but British individuals will soon have their own health document: the GHIC.
One of the most significant services provided to inhabitants in European nations is guaranteed healthcare.
That is why Europeans who travel to other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Union (EU), as well as Switzerland and the United Kingdom, must always have their European Health Insurance Card with them.
The European Health Insurance Card is fully free of charge and provides access to healthcare in all EEA/EU nations, as well as Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
This page contains useful information for both travellers and European citizens, including:
- What the European Health Insurance Card is and how to obtain it
- Who can apply for European health insurance
- What coverage the EU Health Insurance Card grants to its holder
- The EHIC expiration date and how to renew it
- The European Health Insurance Card after Brexit
WHERE CAN I USE THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD?
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a personal document that allows you to access healthcare services throughout Europe. EHIC holders are not permitted to use or give away their EHIC cards.
When travelling abroad, the EU Health Insurance Card bearer has access to medical care in all EEA and EU nations, as well as Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
WHICH COUNTRIES ARE COVERED BY THE EHIC?
The nations that recognise the European Health Card are listed below:
- Czech Republic
- The Netherlands
The NHS still accepts the EHIC even though the UK has formally left the EU (the UK National Health System.) Learn more about the impact of Brexit on UK people who travel to Europe in 2022 and the European Health Insurance Card.
The same healthcare conditions and services as those available in the resident’s country of residence are guaranteed by the European Health Card. Regardless of the cause for their international travel, Europeans can utilise it in all of the aforementioned countries (i.e. study, work, business, tourism).
WHAT IS NOT COVERED BY THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD?
The European Health Insurance Card cannot be used in place of private EU travel insurance because it is not one.
The costs and situations that the EU Health Insurance Card does not cover are as follows:
- Private health insurance
- Return ticket in case of cancellation
- Body repatriation costs
- Loss or theft of luggage and other personal belongings
- Healthcare services and treatments that are not free in the traveller’s own country*
- Costs of treatments when the trip was made specifically for medical purposes.
*If the country the EHIC holder is visiting does not have a free public healthcare system, they will be charged for medical care and treatment in the same manner as locals are.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD?
Applicants must be covered by the national healthcare system of an EU or EEA countries in order to get the EU Health Insurance Card (or Switzerland).
A person must be a citizen or resident of a country in order to be eligible for the EHIC’s healthcare coverage.
Those who cannot obtain an EHIC card must purchase private foreigners’ health insurance in Europe.
HOW TO OBTAIN THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD
The national health insurance provider issues EHIC cards. This indicates that the application and issuance procedures for the EU health card are unique to each nation.
The applicant must submit an application for the European Health Insurance Card in the nation of their nationality or place of legal residence.
Participating European nations typically provide 3 options. You can apply for the EU Health Insurance Card by:
- By phone
- In person
In order to receive advice on what to do next, applicants should get in touch with their national health insurance provider.
Families should be aware that each individual must apply for and receive their own European Health Insurance Card, both at home and while travelling abroad.
HOW DOES THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD WORK?
Any public hospital or medical facility in a participating nation will accept the card as identification if a European citizen or eligible resident needs medical care while travelling.
The medical or administrative staff will attend to the traveller and treat them like any other local patient once they have confirmed that all the information on their European Healthcare Card is accurate and current.
Travelers must always maintain the card on them and keep it with them when they go overseas.
WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD’S VALIDITY?
Although it is not always the case, the European Health Insurance Card typically has a validity of two years. If in doubt, it’s very simple to locate the card’s expiration date (which is frequently on the back side).
The following variables may affect how long the EU health card is valid:
- If the holder is a foreigner residing in the EU, EEA, or Switzerland
- Whether they are currently receiving public benefits
- If they are in economic difficulties
The duration of public health coverage while travelling outside of Europe is unrelated to the validity of the EU Health Insurance Card. Throughout general, three months of guaranteed healthcare coverage when travelling in Europe. There are, however, certain exceptions, including:
- Students completing official courses and programmes abroad
- Workers relocated by their employer for extended periods of time
HOW TO RENEW THE EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARD
Once the European Health Insurance Card expires, its holder should take steps to renew it if they want to continue enjoying access to the European public healthcare system.
The process to renew the European Health Insurance Card is the same as that to request it for the first time.
CAN BRITS USE THE EHIC AFTER BREXIT?
Since Brexit, the NHS no longer issues European Health Insurance Cards. Brits can use their card in Europe up until it expires, though.
UK citizens can apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) that will give them access to European health care when they go to Europe from the UK after their EHIC card expires.
The GHIC, which is entirely free and effectively replaces the EHIC, enables citizens of the UK to receive care in Europe for both emergencies and pre-existing diseases.
The only time that Brits must submit an application is when their European Health Insurance Card expires. The NHS will continue to accept European Health Insurance Cards as long as they are still valid, under the UK-EU agreement.
Please be aware that even if you have an EHIC, the European Commission and the UK government advise travellers to purchase health insurance in Europe coverage before their trip.