Everything You Want to Know About the EHIC Card
The European Health Insurance Card is a card available to many individuals of participating states within the EEA and Switzerland. The EHIC allows users to receive medical treatment in other participating countries, this allows people to receive care without being forced to return to their native country. The requirements to obtain a EHIC card vary by country and so if you are interested in obtaining a specific EHIC card then it will be best to research that specifically. For the purpose of this article I will discuss the EHIC card available to residents of the United Kingdom.
How to Apply for the EHIC Card?
You have two options to apply for the EHIC Card, the first option is to apply directly with the NHSBSA, but another option is to use a company that will take care of the process for you. Either option is fine and doesn’t affect the outcome but there are benefits to using a service. They will ensure that your application is correct – this is a key step because any mistakes on your application can delay or prevent your application from being accepted, meaning that you have to start the process again. You’ll also receive updates as to how the process of your application is going. Furthermore, there’s a phone line that you can call at any time for assistance. There are a number of benefits to applying through an agency, there is a small fee involved, but personally for me it’s worth the peace of mind.
If you’ve already had an EHIC Card in the past and just need a replacement or renewal, then using this address will take you directly there: EHIC Card Renewal, The online card renewal is as easy as filling at the online form, making payment and waiting to receive your card in the mail.
When purchasing assistance for the application for the EHIC Card you’ll quickly notice you have two options. The first is a standard processing and takes up to 5 working days to process. For a small extra fee there’s also the express processing which takes 2 days. After the processing is completed there is a waiting time of around 7-10 days for standard shipping of the card, this time frame is the same irregardless of whether you use the express or standard method.
How Long Is The Card Valid For?
The EHIC Card is valid for a total of 5 years. You can apply for a new card within a six month period of expiration if you do not want to be left without a valid EHIC Card.
Can I Receive Medical Treatment in a Member Country Without a EHIC Card?
The short answer is no. If you do not have a valid EHIC Card on you when you seek medical treatment then you will be likely billed the full cost for any treatment. As you can imagine this price can vary significantly depending on the treatment needed, the duration and the country in which this is. As such, we advise that you always carry your EHIC Card with you while overseas in a participating country.
The EHIC is a great asset especially if you’re planning to live or travel within member countries. Any more questions about the EHIC? I’d love to hear them below.