A European Medical Card is simply another term for an EHIC, or European Health Insurance Card. You may also have heard it called an EU Medical Card, or a Euro Medical Card. This handy plastic card, the same size as a credit or debit card, comes with you when you travel outside of the United Kingdom within the European Economic Area (EEA), and will give you the right to access health care across Europe, either free or at a reduced rate. The EEA is made up of the European Union member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. In the UK, the controlling body for the EHIC is the NHS. We provide a highly efficient, UK based service which allows you to apply for your EHIC.
A brief history of the EU Medical Card
Ten years ago, countries across Europe agreed to provide medical care for European citizens travelling in Europe, at the same costs a citizen of that country would pay. Often, that would mean free of charge emergency care, like we have with the NHS in the UK. Sometimes you will be asked to pay a small contribution, sometimes you pay for certain treatments only, but with your EHIC, you won’t be charged as a private patient.
At that time, you had to take a paper document, an E111, with you wherever you went, but in more recent times, this has been replaced by a plastic EHIC medical card, which is much easier to carry around and show to the health care establishment you visit while away from home. You can even get an app for your smartphone, to make things even easier.
If you don’t have a European Medical Card, or proof of one, be prepared for very large bills when you get home, as you will have been considered to be a private patient who wishes to pay for the entirety of their care. It’s no longer enough to have a passport – if you want treatment without the high bills, you’ll need an EU Medical Card.
Isn’t this what travel insurance is for?
Your EHIC must not been seen as an alternative to travel insurance. You still need private travel insurance. While your EHIC will help you to access health care, it will not cover things like being airlifted home, stolen property or services like mountain rescue. In fact, many travel insurers won’t even let you have travel insurance without an EHIC, so it’s best to get your EHIC in place before you travel. You can apply for it at any time, and it lasts for five years. We recommend applying for your EHIC card as soon as possible, because you never know when you might suddenly need to travel.
If you have less than six months left on an existing European Medical Card, it’s a good idea to apply and get your replacement organised now. We can help make your EHIC renewal really straightforward.
Who’s entitled to a European Medical Card?
If you’re a UK resident with British citizenship, you’re entitled to a Euro Medical Card. It’s open to all British citizens, and application only requires basic details. You’ll need to know your NHS number (Called a CHI number in Scotland or Health & Care Number in Northern Ireland), and your National Insurance number.
If you’re not a British citizen, it’s still really easy to apply, as long as you have UK residency. You’ll probably need to provide slightly more documentation to prove your eligibility, such as a visa, letter from the Home Office, an A1/E101 or S1 document, or even just a letter from your employer.
It’s not just adults who need a medical card. Anyone travelling outside the UK should have their own EU Medical Card – adult or child. A child under the age of 16 must have their EHIC applied for by a parent or guardian.
If you’re unsure of whether you have the right documentation, our staff will be more than happy to advise you on the best way forward.
How can I get apply?
Despite all this confusing red tape, we can provide you with all the help you need to apply for, or renew a European Medical Card. We can make the application process really simple. Just supply us with a few pieces of information, and we can get an application arranged quickly and easily.
Our experienced staff have the expertise you need to ensure that your application is verified and checked for any omissions or errors, and saving you valuable time, before being securely submitted. Why not get in touch with us at our UK office today?