What is the EHIC
The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the E111 in 2006. It is valid throughout the European Economic Area (EEA), including the EU, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein as well as Switzerland.
The card allows you to access state health care at either a reduced cost or for free. It covers treatment required to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return, including for pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. Should you find yourself having to pay for treatment at the time, you may be able to claim a refund upon your return.
EHIC and Travel Insurance
The EHIC is no replacement for travel insurance, nor should you forego applying for the card if you already have travel insurance.
The EHIC does not cover any private medical healthcare or costs such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or repatriation to the UK following a medical emergency. Equally importantly many travel insurers now insist you have an EHIC when travelling in the relevant region and they may even waive the excess payment if you have one.
EHICs and Families
It is not possible to get a card covering the entire family as each family member needs their own one. However, parents can include children in their applications by listing them in the dependants section.
Renewing Your EHIC
The EHIC is valid for five years and with many British travellers having first applied for theirs at the time of the change from the E111, many are now out of date. Do check your card is up to date and if it’s not, you can apply for a free new one up to six months before the date of its expiration.
Lost or Stolen EHICs
If your EHIC is lost or stolen while overseas then you need to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to cover the rest of your break. To apply call the NHS overseas healthcare team on +44 191 218 1999 from Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm UK time. You will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance or NHS number or a CHI number in Scotland or a Health and Care number in Northern Ireland.
Applying for the EHIC
You can apply for your EHIC free here or by calling 0845 606 2030.