When it comes to applying for an EHIC, otherwise known as a European Health Insurance Card, some people seem to think it is difficult to do.
In fact, applying for as well as EHIC renewal could not be easier. As long as you already have health insurance in your country of residence, that is.
What exactly is an EHIC and when do you need one? — An EHIC is the health insurance card you will need when you travel out of your own country, and go to countries in the EU and EEA or to Switzerland. Once there, it allows you access to free healthcare as long as you already have that same healthcare in your country of residence.
You only need one when you travel abroad. You do not need one in your country of residence, as you should already have a medical E-card for that.
You also may not need to apply for an EHIC if the EHIC information is already printed on the back of your E-card. If it is, this card can then be used when you travel overseas. If it is not, or if the segments where your name and medical information should be are blocked out with stars, then you will need to apply for an EHIC.
Applying for an EHIC is easier than you think — You can get an EHIC by going to the office of your local health authorities and requesting one. In most cases, the application takes just a couple of minutes to complete. Once completed and submitted, your EHIC will be processed and sent to you in the mail.
If you do not have an office near you, or cannot get to it during their opening hours, you can usually apply for the European Health Insurance Card on their website or via email. If you do not see this information on their site, contact them via email to ask.
Your final option is to submit your application via an EHIC service. While these services can be helpful if you are not able to submit an application online via your health service, they do charge a fee. So do make sure you know how much the fee is before you use their services.
What does the EHIC allow you to do? — The card basically allows you to leave your country of residence without having to worry about having an accident or being taken ill. After all, if something does happen, you will be able to access healthcare services in the country you are visiting just like you will in your own country.
Be aware, though, some countries may ask you to pay up front for certain services. If they do, you can request a refund of your medical expenses when you return to your own country.
Just make sure you have all the documentation about your treatment, the invoices and the paid receipts. That way you should have no problem getting a reimbursement for your treatment.