Everybody who is travelling in Europe needs an EHIC card – million’s of people have let their EHIC cards expire and million’s more cards are due to expire in 2018, so ensure yours is valid before you go away. This in no way replaces your travel insurance, you will still need to get this. What it does do is offer you valuable extra protection, even if just for visiting the local GP with a query while away.
There are a few important facts to note:
Check the date on yours.
The expiry date is on the bottom right. If it’s already expired, or is about to, renew it now buy going to EHIC Card Application. As you can apply for a new card up to six months before the current one ends, it’s worth doing this well in advance so you are fully covered and don’t forget!
All children must have their own cards regardless of age.
Though you must be over 16 to apply, every family member requires a card. To apply on behalf of a child, just include them as a dependant in the relevant section of the application and you’ll each receive a separate EHIC for them as well.
You must keep the card with you at all times.
You could be asked to pay up front if you haven’t got it on you, so don’t leave it behind at the hotel if you’re out and about. Take it everywhere even if going to the beach!If you find yourself without your EHIC in an emergency, you may be able to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate faxed to where you’re being treated to prove your entitlement. For this, call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on 0044 191 218 1999. See the NHS website for more information.
However, as this is only for emergencies, the Department of Health still states you should always carry your card with you to be covered.
You may need to pay and claim later.
Though the EHIC allows you instant free treatment in some countries, in others you’ll need to pay a proportion of your costs, known as patient contributions.
Rule changes, which came into force in July 2014, mean you can no longer be reimbursed for these contributions, but you could still be able to claim for payments made before this date. See NHS website for more information.
Use the EHIC country-by-country guide below to find out which applies to you, and call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999 if you need to make a claim.