Print Posted By Lost in France on 17 Feb 2008 in Living in France - Healthcare in France

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced-cost, sometimes free, medical treatment that becomes necessary while you're in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. The European Health Insurance card, or EHIC is the replacement for the E111.

What does the EHIC cover?

The EHIC is normally valid for three to five years and covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, because of either illness or an accident. The card gives access to state-provided medical treatment only, and you'll be treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this might not cover all the things you'd expect to get free of charge from the NHS in the UK. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care.

The EHIC also covers any treatment you need for a chronic disease or pre-existing illness. You need to make arrangements in advance for kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy. To arrange for kidney dialysis while you're away, contact your NHS renal unit in the UK before you travel. For limited information on oxygen supply services in the EEA countries and Switzerland, call the Department of Health's Customer Service Centre on 020 7210 4850.

{loadposition contentad}You may be entitled to reimbursement of any contribution you have made where the actual cost of your hospital treatment abroad, minus the amount of the contribution you have made towards the cost of your treatment abroad, is less than what it would have cost the NHS to have provided the hospital treatment in the UK. Reimbursement will be limited to the difference between the amount it would have cost the NHS to treat you here and the actual cost of the medical treatment you have received abroad, minus the contribution you have made towards the cost of your treatment abroad. You are not entitled to be reimbursed an amount greater than the contribution you made and you might not recoup all of it.

You are advised to take out comprehensive private travel insurance for visits to all countries, regardless of whether you are covered by your EHIC. Private travel insurance will cover any contribution which is not reimbursable, as well as other eventualities not covered by the EHIC.

Remember that the EHIC won't cover you if getting medical treatment is the main purpose of your trip.

Your EHIC should cover you for routine maternity care while you are away. However, if you are going to an EEA country or Switzerland specifically to have your baby, you will need an E112 form - see the 'Non-emergency treatment section' for more information.

Who is eligible for an EHIC?

People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC. It is not valid for people who are going to live abroad. There are some restrictions, depending on your nationality:

UK and other EU nationals, stateless persons and refugees are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland. However, if you are a national of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, your EHIC is not valid in Switzerland.

Nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are covered in all EEA countries but not in Switzerland.

People who do not have UK, EU, EEA or Swiss nationality are covered in all EU countries but not in Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. In Iceland, these people are covered for emergency treatment only.

Swiss nationals are covered in all EU countries but not in Liechtenstein or Norway. In Iceland they are covered for emergency treatment only.

Dependants of EEA nationals who are ordinarily resident in the UK are covered in all EEA countries and Switzerland, irrespective of their own nationality.
Other circumstances affecting eligibility

UK employed or UK self-employed people working in another EEA country or Switzerland

If you go to work in another EEA country or Switzerland for up to a year, and HM Revenue and Customs confirms that you must continue paying compulsory UK national insurance (NI) contributions, you are entitled to a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This includes any dependants that go with you. If you are already abroad, you'll need to apply for an EHIC by post and send a photocopy of your E-form (i.e. E101, E102 or E106) as well as your completed EHIC application form. You can get an application form from the EHIC Applications service.

If your employment/self-employment lasts longer than 12 months, you may continue to pay compulsory UK NI contributions for another 12 months, subject to the agreement of the insurance authorities in the country where you are working. For more information, contact HM Revenue and Customs.

If you work in the UK but pay compulsory social security contributions to another EEA country or Switzerland, you should apply for your EHIC in the country where you pay your contributions.

Working for a foreign employer

If you become self-employed or go to work in another EEA country or Switzerland for a foreign employer, you may be required to pay insurance contributions to that country's social security scheme. If so, you will need to get an EHIC from the country you're working in to cover you for any visits you make to other countries. If you currently hold a UK-issued EHIC, you should return it to the EHIC Enquiries service.

Studying in another EEA country or Switzerland

If you are ordinarily resident in the UK but are studying, or planning to study, in another EEA country or Switzerland as part of a UK course, you'll need an EHIC for yourself and any dependants who go with you. You can only apply by post, and must enclose the following information with your completed application form:
  • name and address of UK educational institution
  • address where studying overseas
  • period of study
  • details of qualification that you are studying for.
If your studies are not a compulsory part of a UK course, you will be eligible for a UK-issued EHIC for the first 12 months only. After that you will need to obtain healthcare cover from the country that you are studying in or buy private insurance. Again, you can only apply for your EHIC by post, and must enclose the following information with your completed application form:
  • address where studying overseas
  • period of study
  • details of qualification that you are studying for.

Maternity care

There are special rules if you want to go to another EEA country (or Switzerland) specifically to give birth. You need to write to the Department of Health (or the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in Northern Ireland) explaining why you want care outside the UK and enclose evidence from your GP or midwife of your due date. Include your full address, NI number, date of birth and dates of travel. You can also apply if you are not returning to the UK.

Au pairs and nannies

If you normally live in the UK and are going to work in another EEA country or Switzerland as an au pair or nanny, you are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC for the first 12 months only. After that you must obtain healthcare cover in the country where you're working. You can only apply for an EHIC by post, and must enclose a letter from your employer stating the start date of your period abroad.

The Armed Forces

If you are a member of the Armed Forces stationed in an EEA country or Switzerland, you and your dependants are entitled to an EHIC. If you are already abroad, you can get an EHIC application form from your British Forces Post Office (BFPO). If you are stationed in Germany, you will not be able to use your EHIC in Germany.

Living in another EEA country or Switzerland

If you are under UK state pension age and you move to another EEA country or Switzerland to live permanently (but not to work), contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They will tell you whether or not the UK will pay for your medical treatment in the country you're moving to and for how long. You may no longer be entitled to an EHIC, in which case you will need to send it back to the EHIC Enquiries service. However, you may be able to get health cover from the UK for a limited period on form E106 - contact DWP for further information. Special rules apply if you have an industrial injury or occupational disease. Contact DWP or, in Northern Ireland, the Social Security Agency.

Further Help and Information

EHIC Applications
PO Box 1115
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE99 1SW

Tel: 0845 606 2030
From outside the UK: +44 191 203 5555
Apply Online
http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Healthadvicefortravellers/DH_4135688

EHIC Enquiries
PO Box 1114
Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 2TL Tel: 0845 605 0707

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

International Pension Centre
Department for Work and Pensions
Room TC001
Tyneview Park
Whitley Road
Newcastle upon Tyne NE98 1BA

Tel: 0191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday 8am-8pm)
From outside the UK: +44 191 203 5555
The information in this article is sourced from http://www.dh.gov.uk and is subject to © Crown Copyright
 

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