Steps to Apply for your European Health Insurance Card
- Step - 1Add Personal
- Step - 2Select Delivery
- Step - 3Make
- Step - 4Receive EHIC
Card(s) via Post
How To Apply for EHIC?
There is more than one way to apply for an EHIC, and there is no one correct or best method. The way you choose to apply for your EHIC will depend on your requirements and circumstances as each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
Download EHIC Application Form
Applying by Phone
If you don’t like filling with forms or struggle with writing, then calling the NHS overseas healthcare team by phone can bypass that stage completely. The advisor will take your details over the form, and help work out whether or not you are eligible for EHIC and help you through the process. The main drawback to this method is that you can only make that call during office hours in the UK, which might not be convenient if you’re at work.
Applying by Post
The most low-tech method of applying for your EHIC is by post. Phone the helpline and ask for a form to be taken out in the post, or go onto the website and print a form off. This is a good method of application if you don’t like using the internet, but the main disadvantage is that printing, filling and sending things in the mail adds days onto the overall process.
Filling in applications online is convenient as it can be done ay any time of the day or night, and even on your smartphone. If you’re not confident using websites or have a patchy internet connection, this might be problematic. There are also separate services which also take the application out of your hands completely and offer a check and send service to ensure your application is correct, and also offer additional services such as automatic reminders when your EHIC is about to expire, or hassle-free replacements in you lose your card or need to add on a new family member.
What is a European Health
If you’ve been browsing around travel insurance or holiday sites, you’ve probably come across the term EHIC. But do you know what it stands for? EHIC is the European Health Insurance Card. It’s a credit card sized piece of plastic which has your name, date of birth and other details on it, and which you can use to get access to state healthcare in any of the countries which make up the EEA.
EHIC is a valuable add-on to your holiday insurance policy. Often, your travel insurance will have an excess of £100 or more, meaning you have to foot the bill until your charges reach that level. EHIC entitles you to state health care on the same terms as a national of the country you’re in, and that usually means either free healthcare, or healthcare at a minimal cost. If you’re in a country like Germany or France where the public healthcare system is excellent, why incur any more costs than you have to?
EHIC is also very useful for people who suffer chronic illnesses, or those who find that their pre-existing conditions are excluded from their insurance cover. EHIC will cover any illnesses, whether or not you were aware you were ill before you travelled overseas.
It’s important to remember though that despite the obvious benefits of EHIC, it shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to a travel insurance policy. EHIC won’t pay to fly you home in an air ambulance, or deal with any of the additional costs you incur when you’re ill abroad. Travel insurance policies also cover other events such as losing your wallet or having your baggage going astray. Shop around though, some insurers will offer a reduction on premiums for customers who have organised EHIC cover for their family before leaving home.
How Does EHIC Work?
Applying for your EHIC and getting the card sent to you in the post is just the first part of the reciprocal health scheme. It’s not sufficient just to apply for the card then forget all about it – you’ll need to be able to produce your card if you need treatment overseas, and understand what EHIC does and doesn’t cover you for.
If you fall ill when you’re in one of the EHIC countries or need to see a GP about an existing medical condition, then you will have to organise this yourself. Find out what the name of the state healthcare provider is, as EHIC will only every cover care in the state sector. If you’re asking a native speaker to make the arrangements for you, ensure they understand that you wish to use your EHIC. When you arrive at the GP or go to hospital, take your EHIC with you and present it to the admission staff. They may also want to see your passport. If you’re referred on to a different hospital, make sure it’s covered by EHIC too.
There may still be costs associated with your treatment. People in various countries across the EEA pay when they see their GP and are charged a fee when admitted overnight to hospital. Always ask if you don’t understand what you’re being charged and keep all invoices and receipts. If your illness is serious enough that you need to cut your holiday short and return to the UK, then this is where EHIC cover stops. You’ll have to claim on your travel insurance for help with the costs of repatriation or changes to missed flights. And just like the UK, other countries around Europe will charge for most dental work, and if you are given a prescription.