When travelling in Europe, you need to be concerned about your health to avoid emergency medical bills. Members of the European Union have a unified health insurance system and they offer it to their citizens as well as travellers so they can avail of free or reduced cost of medical treatment in the European Economic Area as well as in Switzerland. The cost of health treatment in this region can be quite costly so you are better off applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
The EHIC is valid and accepted throughout the European Economic Area (EU member states, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland. With the card, you can have access to reduced cost and sometimes free state provided health care which can become necessary when travelling to Europe. For full details of the coverage, you can check out this link.
How To Apply
There are three ways to apply for an EHIC—online, by phone, or by post. The quickest and most convenient way is online. Your card will usually arrive within seven days. If you want to apply through the phone, you can contact (0300) 3301350. If you prefer applying by post, fill up an application form which is available from some post offices. Application by post is allowed if you:
- are not a national of the UK, EEA or Switzerland
- are studying abroad
- are already working abroad but are UK employed or self employed
- date of birth
- National Insurance or NHS number (CHI number in Scotland or Health and Care number in Northern Ireland)
If you are planning to take your children along during your travel, you can also get an EHIC for them. Simply provide their full name, birthdate, and National Insurance or NHS number. The EHIC is valid for five years so make sure you apply for a new one before its expiry date. You can renew the card online or through phone on 0845 606 2030. For lost or stolen cards, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). This will give you the same cover as an EHIC while you are abroad. To get a PRC, call +44 (0)191 218 1999 from 8 am to 5 pm Mondays to Fridays. When applying for a replacement certificate, provide the following information:
While you always want to have fun when travelling in Europe, health will always be an issue. Get yourself an EHIC and travel with peace of mind.