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Ehic Card

Renewal of Existing EHIC

Renew your existing European Health Insurance Card with our quick and efficient service.

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A guide to the European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was first introduced within the European Union in 2004. The EHIC card replaced the E11 card in 2005, although there are still many people who are unaware of its existence and benefits it provides.

In 2017 alone nearly 3 million people let their European Health Insurance Card expire. In fact, since the end of 2014 more than 9 million cards have expired without being renewed, which indicates that millions of people across the UK do not understand the benefits which the EHIC could provide.

You’ll need to provide your:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • National Insurance or NHS number (England and Wales)
  • CHI number (Scotland)
  • Health and Care number (Northern Ireland)

EHIC does not replace travel insurance

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Your EHIC Renewal is valid in these countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands (Holland)
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
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What is a European Health Insurance Card?

EHICThe EHIC card renewal is designed to provide the holder with cover for medical treatments while visiting EU countries. The treatment is provided on the same terms as those who are a resident of the particular country, at a reduced rate or even free of charge. So, if there is free healthcare available in the country you are visiting, you will also be able to avail of free treatment if you hold a renewed EHIC card. In general, the main benefits of the card are:

1) Cheaper or free medical treatment
2) The card is available to all UK residents
3) It is free to apply for a EHIC card renewal
4) It could reduce the cost of single and multi-trip travel insurance

Although it is essentially an EU health card, it can also be used in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway. In total it can be used in 28 different countries across Europe. There are some countries within Europe which do not accept the EU card, including:

1) The Isle of Man
2) The Channel Islands
3) Guernsey, Alderney and Sark
4) Monaco
5) San Marino
6) The Vatican

There are many name variations of the card which you may have heard, such as E11 card or an E111 card renewal, but the official name is EHIC renewal. An EHIC card renewal is completely free of charge and you can apply for one through the EHIC website. As of February 2019, the UK has issued a total of 27 million EHIC cards.

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Medical treatments covered by a European Health Insurance Card

The card will cover you for emergency medical treatment for accidents and sudden illnesses, in addition to long-term conditions such as oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis. The intention of the EHIC renewal scheme is to enable people to continue their visit, without having to return to the country of residence for medical care.

This means that the EHIC renewal will not cover people who are aware that they will need some form of medical treatment while visiting another country. Equally, it will not cover treatments which could wait until the individual returns to their home country.

The card provides cover for routine maternity appointments, although if you are planning on giving birth in another EU country you will need to complete an E112 form. If you give birth unexpectedly, the EHIC will cover the cost of the treatment required for both the mother and baby, as long as it is related to the birth of the child.

How to use an EHIC card renewal

E111 cardThe EU health card is very easy to use, simply present a valid EHIC card before any treatment is provided and there should be no issues. It is important to always carry the card, as if you are involved in a medical emergency it may be more difficult to access the treatment required without it.

A European health insurance card will only be valid for state-provided medical treatment. If you are admitted to a private treatment facility, it is likely that you will have to pay the full cost of the treatment. Although, if you have brought European health insurance it may provide cover for private care in an emergency situation.

The level of healthcare provided when you show an EHIC card renewal will vary. In some countries, you may be required to pay for items such as bedding and food, or you may be asked to pay for some treatments upfront and reclaim the funds upon your return to the UK.

It is worth bearing in mind that the EHIC card renewal will not cover expenses such as:

1) Air ambulance
2) Mountain rescue
3) Medical tourism
4) Private healthcare
5) Cancellation costs
6) Additional accommodation costs
7) Travel costs to return to the UK
8) Lost or stolen property

These costs can quickly become very expensive, so it is important to also purchase travel insurance to use alongside your European Health Insurance card.

Each country within the EU will have specific guidance on how to access their healthcare system with an EHIC card. If you are abroad and are unsure how to use the card, the NHS has created the EHIC application. This will provide simple advice about how to use the EHIC, which treatments are covered, the cost of treatments, emergency contact numbers and how to claim a reimbursement of any costs paid.

Who can apply for a European Health Insurance Card Renewal?

It is EU law which decides whether a person is entitled to an EHIC card renewal, rather than their nationality. For example, the UK currently operates a healthcare system which is based on residency, rather than payment of UK taxes or National Insurance contributions.

If your healthcare is not insured by another EU country and you are resident within the UK, you are likely to be able to obtain a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card. Although, you will need to provide proof of your entitlement when you make the EHIC application. In some situations, if you are living in another EU country, you may still be able to apply for an EHIC card renewal.

If your situation has changed and your entitlement is revoked, you should not use your card abroad. For example, the following circumstances could mean that you are no longer entitled to a card:

1) You move outside the UK
2) Start to work abroad
3) Change your residency

If you still use the card you may be required to pay for the full cost of the healthcare treatment.

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How to apply for an EU medical card

It is very simple to apply for a European insurance card within the UK. It is possible to apply through:

1) The NHS by telephone
2) Online
3) By posting an E111 renewal form, which some people will still refer to as an E11 form.

You will need to provide details for each member of the family, as separate cards will be required for each individual. The information required includes:

1) Name
2) Birth date
3) Address
4) Telephone number
5) National Insurance Number or NHS number

It is possible for one person in a family to make an application for themselves, their partner and any dependants under the age of 16. Although, boarding school teachers are also able to make an EHIC application for the children they care for.

The E111 health card is completely free of charge and will be valid for 5 years. If you know you will be abroad when yours expires, it is possible to renew your card up to 6 months before the expiry date. The expiry date is listed on the front of the card, so a quick check and renewal could save you thousands on expensive medical bills.

If you are a student who is planning on studying in another EU country, you should apply for a student EHIC renewal, which will have a limited period of time allocated to the card.

The quickest way to apply for your European Health Insurance Card is online, as this will take roughly 7 days to arrive. If you apply over the phone it will take up to 10 days, with posted E111 renewal forms taking up to 21 days to process.

Frequently asked questions

Could my EU medical card be refused?

Although the European medical card should be accepted at every state-registered medical treatment facility within the EU, there have been some problems reported. In some situations, medical staff have reported that they do not recognise the card or reject the card if they know that you have health insurance in place.

These issues appear to be more common in some regions of Spain, but the UK government has highlighted the issue with the European Commission.

In an emergency situation, if the hospital is asking you to commit to private treatment, you should take as many details as possible and keep any proof. As soon as possible you should report this to the British Embassy while abroad, or to SOLVIT when you return to the UK, who will then investigate the case under EU regulations.

I live in Europe, am I entitled to an UK-issued EHIC Renewal?

european health insurance cardIf you reside in another country within the EEA area or in Switzerland, you could still be eligible for a UK-issued EHIC card renewal, as long as any of the below points applies to your situation:

1) You are in receipt of an exportable UK benefit or a UK state pension. Although, you will need a UK issued S1 form registered to the country you live in, as this will act as a certificate of entitlement.

2) If your UK based employer has posted you to another EEA country or in Switzerland.

3) You are a frontier worker who lives in the EEA but works within the UK. In this situation, family members will also be covered if they do not have their own EHIC.

If you are not entitled to a UK EHIC, you could be eligible for a European Health Insurance Card from the country which you are living in.

To apply from outside the UK, you will need to contact the Overseas Healthcare Services by phone on: +44 191 218199, or by post at:

Overseas Healthcare Services

NHS Business Services Authority

Bridge House

152 Pilgrim Street

Newcastle upon Tyne

NE1 6SN

I hold an E111 card, but I was made to pay upfront for treatment, can I claim the money back?

If a state-run medical facility refuses your European medical card, you should ask for proof that you tried to use the card. If you can prove that you tried to use the card and were incorrectly charged, it may be possible to apply for a refund from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). If they reject the refund, you may be told to apply for a reimbursement of costs from the authority which provided you with the treatment.

It is important to keep any paperwork and all the receipts which relate to the treatment you received, as you will need to show these when claiming a refund.

The actual price and terms applied to your medical bill will vary between each country. For example, in France, certain medical services require payment upfront, although others involve a bill being sent to your home address for payment at a later date.

Some countries will ask their patients to pay for a contribution to their treatment, such as the cost of prescriptions. This co-payment is non-refundable, but you should still be able to claim a refund for the difference between the co-payment amount and the total bill. The foreign healthcare authority is responsible for calculating the patient co-payment.

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What do I do if I misplace my EU health card?

If you are abroad and need emergency treatment, it may be possible to apply for a provisional replacement certificate. This will act as a temporary European travel card, although it may be more difficult to access treatment than presenting your standard European Health Insurance Card. The certificate will indicate to the medical team that you qualify to receive reciprocal treatment within their country.

To apply for the EHIC card replacement certificate, you will need to contact the Overseas Healthcare Team by phone on +44 1912 181999. When you apply for a provisional replacement certificate you will need to provide:

1) Name
2) Address
3) Birth date
4) National Insurance Number or NHS number
5) Name of the treatment facility
6) An email address for the department providing your medical treatment.

If you are unable to apply for the replacement certificate, it is possible for someone else to apply on your behalf if they hold the above information.

I have an E111 card, should I still purchase travel insurance?

Although the European health card is designed to provide access to medical treatment, it does not replace travel insurance. Instead of providing full insurance cover, the EU health card is only designed to ensure you access the same level of treatment as the local residents, whilst also reducing your total bill. In addition, if you hold a European health card, some travel insurance providers will remove the need for an excess on a claim.

Travel insurance is designed to provide cover for medical expenses, although cover is also available for luggage, holiday cancellations and stolen belongings. If you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition, your travel insurance will also provide cover for the cancellation of the holiday if your condition deteriorates. Although, many travel insurers will charge a premium to cover pre-existing medical issues.

It is advisable to purchase insurance which covers both medical treatment and repatriation to the UK. In most situations, £1 million of cover would be sufficient, although some policies offer more than £5 million as standard.

Why does my travel insurer request that I carry an up to date EHIC?

ehic cardIf you require medical treatment and hold an EHIC card renewal, the cost which your travel insurer will need to pay will be drastically reduced. However, the majority of insurers will understand that in emergency situations you may not be able to access the public health system which is covered by European Health Insurance cards.

To encourage their customers to carry an EHIC renewal, some insurers will add a large excess to a medical claim, as you are not helping to keep the cost of the claim to a minimum. In fact, according to research by Defaqto, out of 532 travel insurance policies surveyed, 92% would charge an excess on medical claims. However, if the claim involved the use of an EHIC card, 90% of the insurers would waive the excess charge.

Am I eligible for an E111 medical card if I have a medical condition?

Every resident within the EU is eligible for an EU card for medical treatment, although there are certain conditions. The E111 renewal will cover the treatment of a pre-existing or chronic health issue if the symptoms worsen whilst you are visiting an EU country.

The card will also provide cover if monitoring is required for pre-existing medical conditions. However, it is not possible to travel to an EU country to specifically access their medical system.

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Can I amend the personal details on my EHIC renewal?

If you want to amend your personal details, you should do this online. To login to your account, you will need the personal identification number which is printed on your EHIC renewal next to your birth date. The PIN will start with ‘UK’ and will contain a series of 6 numbers. If you no longer have your card, you should call the EHIC application line who will renew your card and amend your details on: 0300 3301350.

What impact will Brexit have on the European health card system?

In the Brexit White Paper, the UK government claimed that it wants UK nationals to be able to continue to use the EHIC renewal scheme. So, it is clear that the government hopes there will still be arrangements in place for a form of E111 card renewal when the UK leaves the EU.

If an exit deal is arranged which will allow the UK to remain part of the EEA area, UK citizens would still be able to use their EHIC card. Currently, the UK government and the EU have arranged an agreement in principle, which will allow UK nationals to avail of the current EU healthcare schemes until 31st December 2020.

However, this has the potential to change as the negotiations for Brexit continue. If no deal is reached by 31st October 2019, your access to healthcare within the European Economic Area (EEA), EU and Switzerland could change.

Although, David Davis who is the former Brexit secretary did claim that if a deal with the EU cannot be arranged, the UK would provide an equivalent scheme. The UK already has reciprocal health insurance deals arranged with some countries outside the EU, including New Zealand and Australia. So, in theory, a deal could be arranged relatively easily for UK residents to access the EU healthcare system.

Up until the UK leaves the EU, you should still apply for your European Health Insurance card renewal as it will be valid until the official Brexit date.

Apply for your European Health Insurance Card today

No one ever expects to fall ill or have an accident when they are away on holiday, but it could happen. To ensure you are well prepared and avoid the cost of expensive medical treatments, apply for your EHIC renewal today. To find out more about the card and how it works, please contact our team today.

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