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Newhampshire News Online

The European Health Insurance Card (commonly known as EHIC)

May 17
16:21 2019

A European Health Insurance Card is a form of travel insurance that can be used within the EU. However, it is important to note that the EHIC should not be used as a substitute for private travel insurance. The EHIC and private insurance work very well hand in hand, in fact most travel insurers now demand you to have a card if you wish to insure with them.

Many will be aware of the old E111 form that was needed, this was replaced with the EHIC system in 2006 but they mostly work in the same way. It is important to note that the E111 forms are no longer valid and those who have one will need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card.

Owning a valid EHIC means that should you be travelling within the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you will be entitled to the same healthcare as a citizen of the country you are visiting. This means that the cost of healthcare would be greatly reduced or even free of charge. In the UK we are lucky to have the NHS but many countries do not have the same level of healthcare. It is always important to research what healthcare systems are in place and what you will be entitled to in the country you are planning to travel.

Even though the EHIC is a great form of travel insurance should you have an accident or fall ill on holiday, it does not cover every eventuality. Again, it totally depends on where it is you are spending your holiday. Purposefully travelling to receive medical care is NOT covered by the EHIC, this is true for every country in the EU.

It is important to be aware that the card only covers the individual who applied for it. If you are travelling with others, each member of the party will need their own EHIC. This is also true for children of any age.

The European Health Insurance Card is valid for 5 years. Make sure if you already own a card to check the expiry well in advance of your travels. You need to give enough time for the application and card to be processed and sent out to you before you leave.

None of us can predict when we are going to fall ill or suffer an accident. That is why it is important to always be prepared. Healthcare abroad can be very expensive, and you don’t want to be hit with large upfront medical costs, or risk not being seen to. So, if you’re planning any travels within Europe, make sure you get your EHIC.

The EHIC is free of charge and can be applied for through the official Government website. Alternatively, you can apply for your EHIC at

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