Many individuals do not know they are able to apply for an insurance card to cover medical expenses when traveling through Europe. This card is for European residents, United States residents, and nearly all other county residents.
The European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, is available to those individuals from Switzerland, UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales and England. Individuals not from these major countries can also apply for a card that would help to discount medical expenses when traveling in the European Economic Area (EEA).
This card is important and should be kept in a safe place. If your card is lost or stolen, check https://www.european-health-card.co.uk/lost-or-stolen-eu-health-card-what-should-i-do for more information.
The Application Process
Applying for an EHIC can be done online, over the phone, or in person; however, all documentation must be sent to the appropriate office before a card is issued.
You will need to provide your full name and address, as well as your birth date, and any health care card numbers you may have if you live in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales and England.
The online form is straightforward and easy to navigate, but help is always available. If you would rather apply to a real person, you can call the EHIC office during regular business hours and someone will assist you in filling out the form.
Applying for a lost or stolen card can be done within 10 days of traveling abroad. If you lost your card or it was stolen while you are on your holiday, contact the company that helped you obtain the EHIC immediately so they may help you receive a new one as soon as possible.
Why Get a European Health Insurance Card?
The reason most travelers obtain an EHIC is to have a backup insurance source. It is important to purchase traveler’s insurance in addition to the EHIC, this way you are covered if anything should happen to you and you need medical attention.
Neither the EHIC or traveler’s insurance covers everything, but together, they cover a lot of the medical costs you could incur after an unexpected illness or accident. For example, the EHIC does not cover prescription drugs, calling an ambulance and a medical flight home. Travelers insurance should cover or reimburse many of these costs the EHIC does not cover.
You will need to read the small print as some hospitals and doctors will not treat you if you do not have an EHIC card, even if you have traveler’s insurance.
Travelers Insurance Bonuses
Travelers insurance will also cover such items as lost baggage, missed flights due to accident or illness, rearranging accommodations and flights, and several other items one might not have thought of.
Additionally, most of these insurance companies will help with providing an English-speaking interpreter for emergencies and help getting to a doctor. A doctor which speaks English is something that is important in an emergency for understanding.
Renewal of an EHIC
Similar to a passport, you will need to renew your EHIC. Passports are good for 10 years, but an EHIC is only good for six years
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