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Medical Card (EHIC)

So the question that might cross your mind being “do I actually need an EHIC card when I’m travelling”? the answers simple..why wouldn’t you? The EHIC card provides you with free or a reduced cost health care when you may unfortunately come into a sticky situation and need help of some kind!

Please note: This card is available to UK residents only and we are not sure if their are any equivalents in other countries. Let us know in the comments below if there are!

The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC, as it’s commonly known, is a little piece of plastic worth keeping in your wallet or purse especially when you are travelling around Europe. You can apply for the card FOR FREE online at the NHS; use the link attached to take you directly to the application page, it only takes a matter of minutes but the bits you’ll need to have handy are:

  • Full name
  • Date of Birth
  • NHS/National Insurance Number
  • Current Residence

The EHIC lasts for up to 5 years and has many ways of being able to renew this, generally on the internet, but there is a phone number that you can apply for aswell: (0300-3301350) – this is an automated service. The card will normally arrive in 7-10 days so if you are going away in a short time just check the dates!

Below is a list of the countries that except the EHIC card:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (Including the Canary & Balearic Islands)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

There are a few European countries that do not accept the EHIC card as free or reduced health care. These are;

  • The Channel Islands which include Alderney, Guernsey & Sark
  • The Isle of Man
  • Monaco
  • San Marino
  • The Vatican

With those in mind, please look at suitable insurance before you leave!

psst: If you are ever in an emergency in Europe keep the number 112 handy, this is available free of charge on all EU/EEA phones including mobiles.

Other bits worth noting are that even if you have the EHIC card it doesn’t mean you are insured and covered. It would be beneficial to have private travel insurance aswell as the EHIC as most insurers will waive the excess if you have the card.

Buying private travel insurance will give you the reassurance that you have done everything you possibly can and will avoid a very large bill at the end. EHIC DOES NOT cover your private medical healthcare or mountain rescues in ski resorts or any lost and stolen property but it does give you treatment in an emergency aswell as routine medical care.

Please read up about the EHIC if you still need more information on the NHS site.

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