European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you and your family are going on holiday in Europe, this matters to you.
If you’ve ever been on holiday in Europe, you may have had an E111 form to entitle you to free or reduced-cost health care, if you get ill or have an accident. The E111 form was replaced with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in 2005. You can apply :
by completing the online form (your card will be delivered in seven days),
by calling 0845 606 2030
by completing a form in the post office
Every family member needs their own card. You can apply for an EHIC for your spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in full-time education) at the same time as applying for your own. Before you apply, you need to have the name, date of birth and NHS or national insurance (NI) number of everyone you are applying for.
The EHIC lasts for 3-5 years and allows UK nationals, resident in the UK, to receive free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare when visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The Department of Health website explains where the EHIC is valid. The treatment will be free or at a reduced cost, but private treatment is not usually covered.
If you do have to pay, it is a good idea to claim for a refund from the relevant authority in the country where you have been staying. Should you need to make a claim once you return to the UK call the Overseas Healthcare Team (Newcastle), 0191 218 1999 (Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm).
If you’re going to a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, it’s also important to make sure you have private health insurance. This is because the EHIC may not cover all the costs of your treatment, and never covers the cost of getting you home (repatriation) if you are seriously ill.
For more information on the EHIC see the Department of Health’s advice for travellers or call the EHIC Enquiries Line on 0845 605 0707.