The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) gives you access to state-provided healthcare during temporary stays (language study vacation, business trips, vacation, etc.) in any of the 27 EU countries plus Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland under the same conditions as insured nationals of these countries.
What is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?
Introduced on June 1, 2004, the front of the EHIC card always looks the same and carries the same information but in different languages to ensure that it's immediately recognized by healthcare providers in each member state. The card shows the personal details of each individual and is issued free of charge. Each family member should have their own card when travelling abroad.
How does the EHIC work?
The EHIC covers the medical care and treatments you need according to your state of health. All you have to is present your card to your healthcare practitioner (physician, hospital, etc.) and your medical expenses will be covered in line with the social security rules and legislation of your country of expatriation. However, if you're travelling to a participating country specifically to obtain medical care, your EHIC will not be valid: planned treatments abroad are not covered.
How do I get an EHIC?
Contact your local health authority to request your card at least two weeks before your departure. No document is required to issue the card. If you leave less than two weeks after having applied for the card, your local health authority can provide you with a provisional replacement certificate which will prove your eligibility. This certificate is valid for three months and can be used until you receive your EHIC card.
Who can apply for an EHIC?
You are eligible for the card if you are a national from a member state of the European Union or from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
Why isn’t always the EHIC enough?
The EHIC is not an alternative to international health insurance. Costs are reimbursed on the basis of rates and legislation in the country of expatriation and each country’s healthcare system is slightly different.
The EHIC only covers costs incurred in public health facilities for medically necessary treatments (it will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs).
The card is only valid in European countries and for a two-year period. Medical assistance and emergency repatriation are not covered and in some countries such as the UK, you may have to wait a long time to get access to public healthcare. That's why we strongly recommend you take out complementary international health insurance too.
MSH international healthcare insurance
If you require healthcare coverage for specific medical needs, you should take out international healthcare insurance to cover your expenses. We also recommend you opt for additional benefits like optical / dental care, maternity care, medical assistance / repatriation or death & disability as you see fit. Our comprehensive offers are designed to suit you, depending on your age, family situation and country of expatriation. You can explore our products and solutions and request a quote here.
Travel Insurance vs International Health Insurance
Travel insurance is often mistaken for international health insurance, but they differ in very important ways.