A Guide to The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC is a card that allows the holder to have access to medical care when you are travelling to an EEA (European Economic Area) country. It is best, if you are going to Europe for a trip, to apply for an EHIC because you don’t know if you will be needing it while there and it is also easy to arrange. Here are important information about the EHIC that you need to know before you travel to Europe.
It is important to note that you don’t pay anything to get an EHIC card. If you go to the National Health Service (NHS) website, you can get your card there and you do not need to pay anything. Beware of websites where you will be asked to pay for the card; it means that you are not on the real NHS Website.
IF you have an EHIC you will be given the same level of medical treatment as they will give to their own residents. Some medical treatments may be free, but not everything is. The cost of emergency dental care is not always free, but you can pay a part of its cost. When residents of that country pay for certain prescriptions and treatments, be sure that you will also have to pay for those. There are cases when card holders are issued refunds when they arrive home.
Medical care can be given for free but you should not always expect that because there are treatments that are charged in full.
You cannot use your EHIC outside of the EEA countries. Even if you are traveling only within Europe, it is still best to get yourself travel insurance together with the EHIC, because travel insurance has a wider coverage like repatriation, loss of baggage, or cancellation reimbursements.
While it covers many types of medical treatments, EHIC does not cover everything that travel insurance covers. Your travel insurance can cover medical repatriation but not the EHIC. There is no coverage for people who are in a European hospital who wants to go home instead, for treatment. The cost of medical repatriation can be covered with the right travel insurance.
You can still get medical coverage even if your lose your EHIC if you get Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). IF you want to get a PRC, you simply call the Overseas Healthcare Team and give your details including your National Insurance Number. The Health care Team will then send your PRC directly to where you will receive your medical treatment.
If you apply for your EHIC before going to Europe, you will be able to take advantage of medical care when you travel to any of the EEA countries.