Should You Apply For A Free EHIC Card?

The EHIC, or European Health Insurance Card, allows the holder to get free or discounted treatment in any European Union country at state run hospitals and GP’s. This inclues Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland, none of which are in the European Union.

This is a useful card to have if you are travelling in Europe and require medical assistant. You will be entitled to the same treatment that the citizens of that country are entited to. It’s a useful emergency backup and is free of charge and lasts for five years.

Any UK resident is eligible to apply for an EHIC card, with the exception of residents of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

This doesn’t make treatment free, but it entitles you to the be treated in the same way as a citizen of the country you are visiting. This means that if they get free treatment, so do you. It also means that if they pay, then you pay the same rate as they do. It is a reciprocal agreement and allows EU citizens to access the NHS when they are visiting this country.

The EHIC card doesn’t replace travel insurance – it isn’t going to cover you to be air-lifted back to the UK after a skiing accident or cover any lost or stolen property. It means that if you feel ill whilst abroad you can see a medical professional and have access to treatment.

Many travel insurance companies will wiaver their excess requirements if you have an EHIC, so it is useful in those circumstances.

Each person that travels need their own EHIC card. If you are travelling with children then each child will require their own EHIC card in order to receive treatment.

Some countries will require you to pay for the treatment but because you have an EHIC card you can reclaim the costs either before you leave or when you return to the UK. You will need to check to see what the policy for EHIC cards is on the country you are visiting.

Applying for an EHIC card is free of charge and you apply through the EHIC website online.

Be careful though because there are a lot of companies out there who charge for the EHIC application. Technically, they are charging you for a forwarding and checking service as they are not allowed to charge for the EHIC card, but they are still making you pay a fee when you don’t need to.

Avoid all of these companies as there is no need for a forwarding and checking service – you can apply for it yourself using a very simple form that is easy to complete. It takes just a few minutes and will need you to either have your National Insurance number of your NHS number to complete the application.

If you are travelling within Europe then the EHIC card is something you should have. It will often remove the excess from your travel insurance and it will help you get medical treatment when you need it in the country you are visiting.

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