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family getting EHIC

I still have an old e111 form, can I still use it?

The short answer is no, the E111 is no longer valid. If you come across a website offering an E111, please be aware that this has now been replaced by the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). If you find an old E111, the best thing to do with it is to destroy it, then apply for the EHIC either online or by telephone.

If you live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, you cannot apply for an EHIC and must take out alternative medical insurance.

The E111 remained valid until 31 December 2005, when it was officially replaced by the EHIC and it hasn’t been valid since that date. Instead, the government adopted the current card carrying scheme, in line with other EU/EEA countries in the scheme. The EHIC carries the same entitlement to free or reduced cost health care as the E111, although it doesn’t cover the whole family as the E111 did. Each family member must apply for their own EHIC card, which has five years’ validity.

The EHIC replaces a number of forms:

  • E110 – for international road hauliers
  • E111 – for tourists
  • E119 – for unemployed people/job seekers in the EU/EEA
  • E128 – for students and workers in another EU/EEA country

The E111/EHIC scheme covers all member nations of the EU/EEA plus several countries with reciprocal agreements, and gives the same right to healthcare as a resident of each country. Some third party health insurance policies may be invalidated if you don’t carry an EHIC and you may end up by not being reimbursed at all. Your health insurer may even waive the excess if you carry an EHIC on your travels.

Apart from applying for a separate card for each member of your family, there is no substantive difference between the E111 and the EHIC card:

  • You are covered for healthcare and will pay what a resident of the country you are visiting would pay
  • Your EHIC is not a substitute for health insurance and may not cover a flight home in an emergency, for example
  • Your EHIC does not cover private healthcare, or any treatments you have travelled specifically to seek
  • Your EHIC does cover chronic pre-existing conditions like kidney dialysis

If you travel with an E111 without exchanging it for an EHIC, neither you nor your family will be covered for treatment and you will be unable to claim any reimbursement from the NHS.

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