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The European Health Insurance Card (formerly known as the e111 card), or more commonly known as the EHIC card, is one of the many benefits that residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) can get.
E111 Cards provide EEA residents with the chance to access state-provided healthcare in EEA countries other than their own without having to spend so much on it. This is very advantageous especially for those who have existing medical conditions that need regular treatments or those who find themselves in medical emergencies during their travels.
Planned medical treatments are not covered by the EHIC, but these can be arranged under different conditions.The European Health Insurance Card, more commonly known as the EHIC, is one of the many benefits that residents of the European Economic Area (EEA) can get. It provides EEA residents with the chance to access state-provided healthcare in EEA countries other than their own without having to spend so much on it. This is very advantageous especially for those who have existing medical conditions that need regular treatments or those who find themselves in medical emergencies during their travels. Planned medical treatments are not covered by the EHIC, but these can be arranged under different conditions.
The good thing about the European Health Insurance Card is that they do not discriminate based on nationality. Anyone who has been living in an EEA country for a certain number of years is automatically eligible for the card. Of course, there are also other requirements that must be fulfilled before the resident can actually be an EHIC cardholder. These requirements will vary from country to country, so it is best to read up on the requirements and application processes of the country that you are living in.
Just like the requirements and application processes, the state-provided healthcare treatment policies also differ from country to country. Some countries offer the treatments for no costs at all while others would require for a patient share. There are also some countries that don’t accept the EHIC at all, so it is best to research on the country that you will be traveling to beforehand.
The EHIC lasts for five years, and is renewable as long as you stay a resident of the EEA country issuing it. The renewal is a very easy process and can even be done online, as long as you know your EHIC PIN.
With the e111 card, you can be sure to enjoy stress-free travels to countries around the EEA. It is definitely an advantage to have one along with your private travel insurance, especially if you are prone to sicknesses during your trips. UK residents traveling to non-EEA countries shouldn’t worry though, because they can also have access to healthcare treatments at reduced costs, provided that the country has an agreement with the UK.
An EEA Guide
The European Economic Area (EEA) is a group of countries that offer free trade with each other. These countries include Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and all the countries in the European Union (EU). The group has regulations and agreements for a variety of trades, healthcare being one of them. Fortunately for Switzerland, the regulations on the latter also apply to them.
The provision for the healthcare in the EEA states that any EEA resident holding an EHIC can avail of state-provided healthcare as residents of that country. This means that if healthcare can be availed of for free by residents of a country, then European Health Card cardholders should also be able to enjoy this privilege.
It is important to note that the EEA healthcare provision is only applicable to emergencies and necessary routine care. Cardholders who need emergency medical treatments can call 112, the designated number for European emergencies. Calls to this number are free of charge and can be done on mobile or landline phones.
Again, each country will have its own policies on healthcare access, costs, and refunds. Listed below are just some of the countries included in the EEA that can offer these:
- Czech Republic
EEA residents traveling to any of these countries may use their EHICs in case of medical emergencies.
However, there are also some European countries that do not accept EHICs. These include the following:
- San Marino
- The Channel Islands
- The Isle of Man
- The Vatican
It is important to take note of this when traveling to these countries so that you know whether or not you can use your card.
A Non-EEA Guide
Fortunately for UK residents, the UK also has healthcare agreements with some non-EEA countries. Though this is not as advantageous as the EHIC, it can still get UK residents healthcare access at reduced costs or even for free. UK residents will also be treated as the country’s resident in the healthcare institutions but unfortunately, this only covers medical emergencies and not routine check-ups. It also does not cover the costs in case of repatriation or instances when you have to be sent back to the UK.
It should also be noted that the healthcare services of these countries may be more restricted than those under the EEA. It is therefore still imperative that you have a travel insurance policy when traveling to these countries. Such countries include:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- British Virgin Islands
- Falkland Islands
- New Zealand
- St. Helena
- Turks and Caicos Islands
Unfortunately, the following countries terminated their healthcare agreements with the UK just last 2016:
Knowing whether or not you can avail of emergency medical treatment in the country you are traveling to is very important especially if you want to save on costs. It is therefore best to keep yourself updated before traveling to any country, and, again, to always have travel insurance.
e111 Card Renewal in UK
The EHIC is valid from the day of approval until 5 years after. Since this is quite a long time, it is easy to lose track of when exactly it will expire. It is therefore always advisable to check its validity before every travel. The safest time to renew your EHIC is six months before its expiry date. The renewal process is easy and free. UK residents can do this online, especially if no personal details have changed. Simply enter all of your personal details in the website and you’re good to go.
Has your e111 expired? Renewal of an EHIC can only be done via the e111 form online if the cardholder knows his/her personal identification number (PIN). Otherwise, you will have to manually contact the concerned application line for renewal. This PIN should be indicated on the EHIC, on the same line as your birthday. It is a special code assigned to each person for easier reference. The PIN for UK-issued EHICs start with “UK”, followed by a numeric code.
EHIC Card Renewal with Change of Name, Address, and/or Both
Generally, any change of name or address should immediately be addressed to your EHIC provider, whether your card is about to expire or not. Those who do this can renew their cards online – simply enter the new details in the proper fields and submit the renewal application. The new cards will then be sent to the new mailing address.
Those who fail to inform their providers about their change of names and/or addresses may not be allowed to renew online. Instead, these cardholders should contact the EU Health Card provider’s customer support line and provide the following details:
- Full Name
- UK address
European health insurance card Renewal for Families
There may be times when family members won’t have the same EHIC expiry date. When this happens, it is important to still enter the personal details of ALL members, even though their cards aren’t close to expiring yet. This ensures that all the details of each family member will remain linked to each other. Upon submission of renewal, a prompt stating that only expired cards will be renewed will appear.
e111 Renewal for Non-EEA Nationals
The renewal process for non-EEA nationals is the same as the application process. As long as cardholders have proof of residence in an EEA country, such as a residence permit or visa, they are eligible for renewal.
EHIC Renewal for EEA Residents Outside of UK
UK residents temporarily living outside of UK, such as those listed below, can renew their EU Medical Cards by getting in touch with the Overseas Healthcare Team.
- Receive exportable UK benefits or UK State Pension;
- Have a registered UK-issued certificate of entitlement (S1 form) in country of residence;
- Are employed under a UK employer but is posted to work in another European country OR is a frontier worker living in Europe and working in the UK;
- Are a family member of someone who works in the UK and is not covered by country of residence;
- Are students who study in EEA countries outside of UK
Healthcare Tips for Moving Abroad
Globalization has made it possible for different countries to engage in trade and other businesses. It has also made it possible for people all over the world to move abroad in search for better job and/or learning opportunities. UK residents are not exempt from this. Many UK residents have decided to move abroad for different reasons. No matter what reason they have, though, one thing is essential: to prepare for healthcare. Unfortunately, though, this is the last thing on people’s minds.
Though making travel arrangements, looking for accommodation, and getting visa and work permits are more important, it is also important to prepare for healthcare just in case of emergencies. Keep in mind that since the National Health Service (NHS) is a residence-based entitlement, UK residents planning to move abroad will lose all entitlements under it. Anyone moving to another country should therefore inform their healthcare providers so that they can be removed from the register.
Before moving to another country, it is important to look into what healthcare services they can provide. Remember that this varies from country to country, and you may not be able to receive the same services that you did in the UK. It is also possible to lose the privileges from your UK-issued EHIC, except in cases mentioned below. It is therefore important to register with healthcare insurance services in the country you will be working/living in so that you will be entitled to the same benefits as residents of the country.
European health insurance card exemptions for UK residents working and living abroad
EHIC privileges for UK residents working and living abroad will depend on whether or not the cardholder intends to stay there temporarily or permanently. It also depends on whether the cardholder receives other UK benefits such as state pension, among others.
UK residents temporarily working abroad may still use their UK-issued EHICs but those who are planning to permanently live outside the EEA will not be covered anymore. Cardholders who may need to receive planned medical treatment in UK in the future may do so, provided they meet the necessary requirements. There are lots of material available on accessing planned healthcare treatments in the UK. Read up on these if you are planning to get one.
EHIC exemptions for UK residents studying abroad
UK residents studying abroad can apply for a student EHIC, which is technically just a time-limited card that only entitles the cardholder to access to state-provided healthcare for the duration of the school year/s. Any dependents should also be included in this application.
When applying for a student EHIC, keep in mind that the requirements will differ depending on whether the course you are taking up is part of a UK university curriculum or not.
If the course taken up is part of a UK university curriculum If the course being taken up abroad is a requirement to finish the curriculum in a UK university, the following official documents will have to be submitted:
- Name and address of the university in UK
- Address abroad
- Course timeline
- Details of your curriculum/program
If the course taken up is NOT part of a UK university curriculum
If the course is not a requirement of a UK university, the following official documents should be submitted:
- Address abroad
- Course timeline
- Details of your curriculum/program
For both options, it is imperative that the documents are official and legal. This means that the student will have to obtain them from the university itself.
Upon moving back to the UK, the cardholder should surrender the student EHIC in exchange for a regular one. Those who choose to work in the country where they studied, however, may lose UK-issued EHIC entitlements. If this country is part of the EEA, however, the cardholders can always apply for an e111 card (EHIC) or other state-provided healthcare insurances that are issued by the said country.