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A woman wearing a coat and hat holds up a giant pretzel at a winter market

European Health Insurance Card

The benefits and limitations of having a EHIC

A EHIC allows you have state healthcare in EEA countries and Switzerland.

An EHIC doesn’t cost anything and gives you free and reduced cost for emergency and necessary healthcare in EEA countries and Switzerland. The cost of the treatment depends on the country you’re in – if the healthcare is free, then your treatment will be too. But if the citizens of a country have to pay, then so do you. It’s a reciprocal agreement throughout Europe. Keep in mind an EHIC isn’t travel insurance, so make sure you have a policy in place before you depart.

What’s included with your EHIC?

During your trip, you’re entitled to treatment for any existing medical conditions you may have, emergency health care and routine maternity care – though only if you’re not going abroad to give birth.

How it’s used?

If you need emergency medical treatment while you’re in Europe, call 112. This number is valid in all EU/EEA countries and is free of charge.

How to apply

To be eligible for an EHIC, you normally have to be a resident in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland, with a NI number or NHS number.

You can apply online for your free card using the EHIC online application form. This is the official site – others may charge a fee, and you may not get your money back if you try to get a refund.

The limitations

The EHIC will not cover1:

  • Any private medical care costs
  • Lost or stolen property
  • Any legal costs
  • Delayed baggage which will leave you without your belongs at your destination
  • If you’re planning to have treatment abroad

 

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