European Health Insurance Card
From 1 January 2006, you will need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to receive healthcare that becomes necessary during your visit to an EEA country or Switzerland.
The EHIC: free or reduced cost treatment
A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment that becomes necessary while you’re in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
The EEA consists of the European Union (EU) countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Switzerland applies the EHIC arrangements through an agreement with the EU. The EHIC is valid in:
|Cyprus (but not Northern Cyprus)||Ireland||Poland|
What does the EHIC cover?
The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.
The EHIC also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness. You need to make arrangements in advance for kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy. To arrange for kidney dialysis while you're away, contact your NHS renal unit in the UK before you travel. For limited information on oxygen supply services in the EEA countries and Switzerland, call the Department of Health's Customer Service Centre on 020 7210 4850.
Remember that the EHIC won't cover you if getting medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip. You are advised to take out comprehensive private insurance for visits to all countries, regardless of whether you are covered by your EHIC.
Your EHIC should cover you for routine maternity care while you are away. However, if you are going to an EEA country or Switzerland specifically to have your baby, you will need an E112 form - see the 'Non-emergency treatment section' for more information.
Who is eligible for an EHIC?
People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC. It is not valid for people who are going to live abroad. There are some restrictions, depending on your nationality:
• UK and other EU nationals, stateless persons and refugees are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland. However, if you are a national of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, your EHIC is not valid in Switzerland.
• nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are covered in all EEA countries but not in Switzerland.
• people who do not have UK, EU, EEA or Swiss nationality are covered in all EU countries but not in Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. In Iceland, these people are covered for emergency treatment only.
• Swiss nationals are covered in all EU countries but not in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
• dependants of EEA nationals who are ordinarily resident in the UK are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland, irrespective of their own nationality.
For futher information click here to visit the EHIC WEBSITE and apply online.