EHIC: European Health Insurance Card

In this article

The EHIC, fully called the European Health Insurance Card, is a scheme that permits people to public medical attention in countries under the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA). It is for denizens and occupants and does not incur any cost, i.e., it is issued for free. It can be used anywhere, anytime, even when relocating to another EHIC compliant nation.

How Does the EHIC Work?

The EHIC is a very innovative project that is efficient in providing health care solutions. As earlier described, it provides equal eligibility to every user in any nation that supports it, which means that as an EHIC owner in a foreign EHIC compliant country, you are entitled to the free health services rendered to its residents and citizens. Also, if the citizens and residents of that country are paying a certain reduced fee for any health service, you are allowed to pay that amount. Most times, the fees are not expensive.
To use an EHIC to get any medical care, all you need is to show your Insurance card.

Does the EHIC Cover All Health Services?

Since the EHIC is a health insurance scheme, you might expect it to cover every health need and treatment. I'm sorry, no. It does not. It is only available to public health services. Let us quickly highlight some essential services it offers.

Seeing a Doctor

It is possible to travel to an EU nation and have access to see a medical practitioner for medical reasons. However, it will require you to contact a licensed doctor with the NHIF in the region you are going over to. You can get information on a reliable doctor from hotels and travel agencies. In a case of emergency, you might not need to be referred by any doctor before accessing any hospital. But note that you may just get charged a small fee by the hospital.

Drug Prescriptions

Drug prescriptions are taken care of by the Insurance scheme. Some prescriptions are partially funded, while others are free. However, drugs gotten over the counter like pain relievers are not taken care of.

Dental Services

Simple dental medications are usually taken care of. Emergency cases are also handled for free. However, complicated and costly dental procedures are not part of public health services, so the insurance scheme does not cover them.

Ambulance Service

The ambulance service is also a public service, the EHIC takes care of that as well. In essence, wherever you are in the EU communities, you are entitled to free ambulance services.

What Services Are Not Funded by the EHIC?

The insurance scheme does not take care of some health services. Some of them include:

Arranged Medical Attention

The EHIC cannot have a covering for you when you make arrangements solely to see a doctor or receive media attention.

Intended Child Delivery

The EHIC does not cover your expenses when you travel to an EU state for the sole intention of childbearing.

Medication in Private Hospitals

As implied, the EHIC was created for public health services, and they must be received at public health centers and hospitals. This means that the health insurance scheme does not cover treatments received at private hospitals.

Countries Entitled to the EHIC

The only countries entitled to the use of the Insurance Card are those in the European Union. There are exceptions for four eligible non-EU countries like Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Who Can Own an EHIC?

Being a citizen of the EU qualifies you for the Health Insurance Card within any EU community and the four nations with the eligibility. Also, obtaining the EHIC is possible for people with a residence permit in any country under the European Union, not regarding if the person is a citizen. But, you cannot access the EHIC with a residential permit in the four eligible countries.
For an EU nation like the UK, it is possible to receive EHICs acceptable in Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. Also, people from the European Union and the four eligible countries that were UK residents before the beginning of January 2021 are eligible to obtain the EHICard. Other eligible individuals are
  • UK pensioners that relocated to any EU or eligible countries before thebeginning of January 2021.
  • Workers that live in an EHIC enabled state and work in another state before thebeginning of January 2021.
  • People that traveled to Liechtenstein or Iceland before the beginning ofJanuary. They will enjoy the privileges until they travel to another nation.

EHIC Application

Applying for a European Health Insurance Card can be done through different methods. If you can, make your way to any official office to apply for an EHIC and receive it. But if you cannot make it to any healthcare office, you can make an online application or mail. After requesting the card, it will be delivered in due time. The whole application process is free, except for private companies licensed by the government to register applicants.
For every country, there is an authorized regulatory body to contact when making an application for an EHIC. Some of them include countries: Croatia, Austria, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Finland, Bulgaria, and many others.

Can The EHIC Expire?

Do not be surprised. The EHIC expires. Although its validity varies from country to country, most Insurance Cards stay valid for up to 5 years. Some countries even offer cards that can stay for up to 10 years. The card's expiration date is usually inscribed, so it will not be difficult to find it.

Can I Renew My EHIC?

Did you think of this next? Yeah! Once your card expires, you can get another one by applying again like you did the first time. It can be by mail, online, or offline. If you have changed some of your information like your address, surname, etc., you must apply the updates before renewing your card. But if no data is changed, the application and delivery process is seamless and swift.

EHIC vs ETIAS

With the visa-free travel waiver, ETIAS Europe which will become effective by the end of 2022, you will not require any medical travel insurance. This means the ETIAS will also act as a health insurance to provide public health protection and attention for ETIAS EU countries residents and visitors. To apply for ETIAS, you will need to fill in your personal data, country of residence, nationality, and passport details via the online application form. All the application can be completed in less than ten minutes.

EHIC FAQs

Do you have questions about the EHIC? These answers will be of help.

Can I Continue a Treatment in another EU country?

If you suffer from an illness and want to relocate to another country under the EU for further treatments, your card can cover the expenses. However, ensure to receive treatments from any public hospital or doctor that works with the National HealthCare Fund.

Can the EHIC Cover My Pregnancy?

In terms of pregnancy, the EHIC only funds primary natal care and accidental childbirths. But if you want to travel to give birth to your child, you are not insured. For periodic health checks and other services relating to pregnancy, you might be charged a token or nothing at all, as long as you are receiving the services in a public health center.

Can I Use my EHIC for Dialysis and Chemotherapy?

Using the insurance for dialysis and chemotherapy is not generally decided. It differs between countries. It is best to consult doctors or the healthcare administration to know if it is covered in your country or the one you intend to travel to.
Do not forget that some services are paid for in some countries, while others are free. Also, some countries require that you pay for the treatment and get repayment after the treatment.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

FAQ

Do you have questions about the EHIC? These answers will be of help.

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