Nomad Lifestyle Blog:

Everything You Need to Know About the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Picture of Weronika Popiolek
Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

Picture of Weronika Popiolek

Weronika Popiolek

Marketing & PR Coordinator

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Traveling through Europe can be an enriching experience, but it’s also important to stay safe and healthy during your adventures. That’s where the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) comes into play—a valuable asset for any European traveler. This comprehensive guide will explain the key benefits, eligibility criteria, and how to apply for an EHIC to ensure your travels are worry-free. 

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Key Benefits of EHIC

The EHIC brings several advantages to EU and the UK citizens traveling within the EU, EEA, and Switzerland: 

Equal Access to Healthcare: The card grants you access to state-provided healthcare facilities on the same terms as local insured individuals. 

Coverage of Essential Treatments: Necessary medical treatments, even those concerning pre-existing conditions or routine maternity care, are covered. 

Ease and Efficiency: Simplifies the process of receiving medical assistance abroad without the hassles of additional insurance paperwork. 

Peace of Mind : Rest assured knowing that potential costs associated with essential medical care are taken care of. 

Eligibility Criteria for EHIC

To be eligible for an EHIC, you must fit one of the following criteria: 

  • Insured by or covered under state social security within any EU/EEA country or Switzerland. 
  • Specific conditions apply for UK residents who meet certain criteria tied to Brexit arrangements and previous residency – GHIC is available for all UK citizens.

Application Process for EHIC

Applying for an EHIC is straightforward: 

  • Contact Your Insurer: Reach out to your current health insurance provider responsible for your healthcare costs. 
  • Submit Necessary Information: Provide all required personal details and insurance information to your insurer. 
  • Receive Your Card: Once your application is processed, you will receive your EHIC. 

Remember that the EHIC has an expiration date, so keep track of when you’ll need to renew it. Find out more information here.

Using EHIC Abroad

  • Present your EHIC when accessing state-provided healthcare services. 
  • Understand that each country has its own health care system rules and processes. 

Keep in mind that in emergencies, dialing 112 will connect you to emergency services anywhere in the EU. 

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EHIC vs Travel Insurance vs Telehealth

Though crucial, the EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, however, as a EU citizen, EHIC gives you the right to receive emergency treatment. Travel insurance covers additional costs such as medical repatriation, lost/stolen property, and services not provided by public healthcare systems in Europe. It’s recommended to have both the EHIC and comprehensive travel insurance for complete protection. A telehealth membership can provide access to a physician consult at the convenience of virtually anywhere you are and we recommend DrOnCall.com since it is an unlimited model for one low monthly fee and no per call costs. 

The EHIC is an invaluable tool for every EU traveler within Europe, ensuring access to necessary healthcare services. To enjoy your European travels with peace of mind, ensure you have a valid EHIC and remember that it complements, but does not replace, travel insurance. 


People from non-EU countries who are legally residing in the EU and are covered by a state social security scheme are also eligible for a card. However, nationals from non-EU countries cannot use their EHIC for medical treatment in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

 

Stay safe and explore with confidence, knowing that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. Happy travels! 

 

Important Reminder: Always carry both your EHIC and a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover aspects that EHIC does not. 

 

For more detailed information on applying for or renewing your European Health Insurance Card, please visit the official EHIC website or contact your national health insurance provider.