EHIC: European Health Insurance Card


Health Insurance is a mandatory requirement when moving to any European country even if only temporary. Therefore, if your work requires you to change your location frequently, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) might be the answer.

What is European Health Insurance Card?

EHIC is issued free of charge and allows you to receive medical treatment in another member state free or at a reduced cost. However, it only covers healthcare services which are normally covered by a statutory health care system in the host country. Also, bear in mind, that it is not an alternative to travel insurance. The term of the card validity depends on the issuing country. 

How does EHIC work?

Your European Health Insurance Card only covers the necessary “unplanned” care, such as accidents, emergency and unexpected sickness. It does not include planned treatments, repatriation and rescue or private healthcare.

You need to take your EHIC card with you while travelling to another EU/EEA member country or Switzerland. Because whenever you need to see a doctor, have medical treatment or buy prescription medication, you must show your card to reclaim the costs back. Furthermore/likewise, it is important to ask for a receipt or certificate. In some countries state healthcare is absolutely free. Otherwise, you will need to pay for the treatment or prescription at the time and claim the costs from the social services authority back in your country. 

Who can apply for EHIC?

All citizens of the European Union and European Economic Area (The EU plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) covered by statutory health insurance in their country of residence.

Non-EU citizens are also covered by EHIC in some countries. In order to get the card, you must legally reside in an EU state and be covered by social security. Unfortunately, they are not able to use EHIC for treatment in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Croatians cannot use the card in Switzerland.

How to apply for the European Health Insurance Card?

Each EU state is responsible for distribution of the card to its citizens. Some countries issue the European health card automatically with the national health card; in others you need to apply for it.

Each family member needs to have their own card.

To be eligible for EHIC, you should be paying into the country’s social security system.

How to renew the European Health Insurance Card?

European health insurance card is free to renew. You can begin the renewal process half a year before the expiry date, but no leftover time will be transferred to your new card. Although the card renewal process varies from country to country, most of the time it can be handled online providing no details have changed.

Going to Europe for work and need help with your payroll? Contact Bradford Jacobs now! Our experts will gladly help or answer any questions you have.