The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is required before traveling as it enables holders for state-provided healthcare while in the EEA (European Economic Area) nations, including Switzerland. The EHIC provides lower costs and even free healthcare charges depending on the situation. There are many factors to know about the EHIC.
The EHIC does not cover private medical expenses like rescues, transportation, or stolen property. It is not an alternative to purchasing travel insurance. The EHIC should be acquired along private travel insurance for maximum protection. Based on the insurance provider, some fees may be waived for EHIC holders.
The EHIC is accepted in all EEA nations. EEA nations are part of a free trade zone amongst the EU (European Union) members, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. All healthcare access regulations apply to Switzerland too.
Residents of the UK, who are British, Swiss citizens, and other EEA/EU nationals, are also EHIC eligible. You may apply at no charge at respective EEA/EU online sites with official EHIC information.
People whose nationally is not from the nations described above, may provide evidence of being an ordinarily UK resident such as a Home Office notice, employer letter, visa, or approved E109, E106, E101, S1, or A1 forms. Non-nationals are not able to apply online for the EHIC. For further information about what is an ordinary resident, check the HM Revenue and Customs online site.
Since national healthcare systems are different, the EHIC may not cover everything free under the UK NHS (National Health Service). However, similar medical treatment to the residents of countries visited should be given. Also, some nations may require extra payments, such as patient contributions or co-payments. UK nationals may be refunded for such payments if no refunds where provided at the country where the medical treatment took place.
Here are the specifics about EHIC coverage:
- EHIC provides access to free or low-cost medical treatment at state healthcare locations.
- It provides periodic maternity checks for residents scheduled to give birth in the nation where the EHIC was issued. Expectant mothers do not have to suffer illnesses or accidents for regular maternity care
- EHIC provides needed medical healthcare during trips, such as becoming ill or experiencing an accident. You may dial 112, the European emergency number, in case of an emergency from any telephone.
- It provides routine medical healthcare for EHIC holders with pre-existing medical issues that must be monitored.
- EHIC covers provisions for kidney and oxygen dialysis. These types of treatments must be arranged in advance before traveling. You should make sure that individual medical therapies are not booked for kidney and oxygen dialysis if you do not want to be charged.
- It provides healthcare treatment for pre-existing or chronic medical issues that occur during visits.
Beware of unofficial websites that charge to apply for the EHIC since it is free of charge. Contact the automated EHIC service line at 0845-606-2030 for issues with online applications, to update personal information, or to replace stolen or lost cards. For further information about the EHIC, you may contact the Overseas Healthcare Team number while abroad at 00-44-191-218-999.