The Benefits of Getting a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

in Overall Health by

Having access to quality health care is fundamental in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This means ensuring that you have medical coverage regardless of your geographical locale. Often, while traveling or bringing your family on holiday, the insurance or medical coverage you receive at home will not be viable in other countries.

If you ever decide to travel between EU states and countries, you will not have worry about whether you can seek medical attention or not. If you are covered by a social security scheme in EU countries that are part of the EEA (European Economic Area), then you could qualify for EHIC, the European Health Insurance Card.

What countries are parts of the EEA?

The following is a list of some of the EU countries that are included in providing EHIC services:

  • Austria
  • France
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Latvia
  • Ireland
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

For a complete list of countries that are included as part of the European Economic Area (EEA), you can click here and get connected to their informative website. While there, be sure to check out their user-friendly online application process.

What is EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card, EHIC, gives holders medical treatment coverage at a free or significantly reduced rate should they need medical attention in participating states or countries.

Some of the benefits that EHIC provides coverage for are as follows:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Chronic illnesses

An appointment/booking is usually required for:

  • Dialysis treatment
  • Oxygen
  • Maternity Care

Each EEA country has different policies concerning health insurance, you may be offered a bill-free visit or pay a notably reduced amount with your EU insurance card.

Examples of having the benefits of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC):

Thomas and Madeline travel from France to Italy for a much deserved holiday. Upon arriving, Madeline comes down with a severe case of the stomach flu and needs medical attention. Although they have medical coverage in France, they do not have coverage while on holiday in Italy. Luckily Thomas had taken advantage of applying for EHIC earlier that year because he wanted to be prepared for the rules of health care systems in other countries. Madeline receives the proper medical attention she needs without any hassle or worry of an extreme medical bill afterward. Since Italy and France are a part of the EEA, the couple’s European Health Insurance Cards were accepted at the local hospital without worry about paying first (pre-pay), co-payments, or large medical bills.

Wolfgang wants to eventually move from his home in Germany to a quaint home in either Finland or Ireland. Before making his choice he takes a season-long holiday in both countries in order to help him decide. He is an avid hiker and athlete, used to small injuries while on long treks. During his holiday in Finland, he sprained his ankle and was able to get the necessary medical care because of his EHIC card. While on holiday in Ireland, he suffered a minor head injury while learning Rugby. Due to his EHIC coverage, Wolfgang was able to get necessary medical treatment with virtually zero hassle. Wolfgang was able to enjoy both holidays without any medical bills afterward because his EHIC coverage delivered excellent results.

How long is enrollment?

The European Health Insurance is valid for up to 5 years and you can renew your cards as early as 6 months prior to expiration. With a streamlined system, EHIC will send reminders about renewals and can do it for you.

Who can apply?

People who can apply for an EHIC are citizens of the UK (United Kingdom) and permanent residents. Applications can cover up to two adults and four children. If you would like your whole family to be covered, each child and adult actually require their own insurance card. You can also apply in over sixty (60) languages and have access to telephone support should you need it.

If you are scheduling a holiday for yourself or the family, it is highly recommended that take advantage of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can learn more about the application process and the full list of states that accept it by going to their website via the link mentioned above.