A European Health Insurance Card is a free health card made available to Switzerland citizens and European economic area members. This card enables members of the European Union to easily access medical care in times of emergencies freely or at reduced cost. Anyone who is above 18 years of age and covered by the National Health Service needs to apply for this EHIC card. Others expected to apply for this card include those who are visit frequently the UK or planning to visit. Application can be done online therefore it is easily accessible to everyone. The process is easy and safe. Here are 7 tips for getting an EHIC card;
- The application process is absolutely free so don’t be duped by some scam websites offering to give the card at a fee. If you are a UK resident, you can apply online either by calling the automated EHIC application service or through an online form. The number to call is 0300 3301350. You will need to provide your full names, address, date of birth, NHS number and healthcare number.
- You can also apply for an EHIC card and include your partner or any child who is under 19 traveling with you. The same details needed when making an individual application will be required as outlined above. However, you need to remember that EHIC does not replace travel insurance. The card will cover any necessary treatment until you return back to your home country.
- Your card becomes obsolete if you move out of the UK for further studies or living abroad. So ensure you currently live in one of the countries included in the European Economic Area.
- You may be expected to contribute towards the payment of your treatment although sometimes it is absolutely free. If you are visiting a country you can claim back the money.
- You cannot use your European Health Insurance Card to access private hospitals or private healthcare services. This is applicable even if you are visiting member countries of the EU .the card is also not used when paying for cosmetic surgeries like plastic surgeries. The card is also not valid on cruises.
- In case of lost or stolen card, no need to worry. The government has provided an alternative in the event of such a case, by providing a document called the Provisional Replacement Certificate [PRC]. This is a temporary document to be used as you await for replacement of the original document. The goo thing about it, is that you can still continue to enjoy the services offered by the card, so quality healthcare is still within reach
- The card expires after every 5 years so you will need to ensure it is valid every time you need to access healthcare, including minors who are dependent on you and are below 16 years of age. Therefore ensure you renew the card. It is possible to do so online even several months before; up to 6 months before the expiry date