21 January 2009 by Anna Staford
You need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel – it gives the holder rights to healthcare that becomes necessary during a temporary visit to EEA (European Economic Area) countries or Switzerland. The EHIC replaced the E111 form in Jan 2006. The E111 form is no longer valid.
There may be some restrictions depending on your nationality. Residents of the Channel Islands and the Isle Of Man are NOT eligible. Remember: each person in your group requires a card.
If you have an accident or suddenly become ill you’ll receive the necessary state-provided medical healthcare for free or at reduced cost. You’ll be treated on the same terms as insured nationals of the country you’re in. Tip: carry your EHIC with you at all times to prove you are entitled to healthcare.
Remember: overseas state-provided healthcare may not cover things you receive for free on the NHS.
You will still need appropriate insurance to ensure you are fully covered for all eventualities. Remember: few EU countries pay the full cost of medical treatment, even under the European Union’s healthcare arrangements. You still need sufficient travel insurance to cover healthcare costs. Read more information about buying travel insurance. Many people think an EHIC will be enough and don’t take out insurance. They regret this when they have to pay thousands of pounds for an air ambulance back to the UK or pay out for extra accommodation to stay with a sick relative.
The EHIC is valid in the European Economic Area and Switzerland. The European Economic Area is made up of all 27 members of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Read more: Using your EHIC in Spain