Are you eligible for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

AUG | 07 Oct, 2014 06:30AM | Leave a comment
Living in the United Kingdom and travel within the European Economic Area (EEA) countries including Switzerland? Then read through. You might be eligible to apply for an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). It is free of charge, but beware there are unofficial websites, which may charge if you apply through them.

What is EHIC?

An EHIC or European Health Insurance Card will enable you to access state-provided healthcare in EEA countries, including Switzerland, at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free. It will cover your treatment until you return to the UK. It also covers treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routing maternity care, providing the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth.

Each country's health system is different, and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

What is it NOT?

The card is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. Therefore, it is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy. Some insurers now insist that you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one.

Who can apply?

According to NHS website, every family member requires an EHIC. If you are the main applicant, you can apply for yourself, or on behalf of your partner and any dependent children that are in full-time education and under the age of 19. The main applicant for the EHIC must be "Ordinarily resident" in the UK. You may ask, what does it mean to be "Ordinarily resident"? It's really not a defined wording and has content worth of another post if I try to explain it here. So, rather than me trying to explain it, HMRevenue has a great explanation about what ordinary residence mean (click here). It is recommended that you read through NHS website before making an application, to find out if you are eligible.

Click here to find more information about EHI Card.
Click here to apply for your EHIC.