Applying For The European
Health Insurance Card (EHIC) In Latvia

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Long before the creation of the European Health Insurance Card in 2004, tourists visiting countries in Europe had to make do with the easily-mangled E111, a piece of travel document that allowed tourists to a particular country to gain access to the public health care services of that same country. Unfortunately, because of its rather very outdated form, it was replaced by the sturdier, more convenient, and equally useful EHIC. And when you travel to the scenic country of Latvia, particularly in the nation’s capital, Riga, you will be glad you have the European Health Insurance Card with you and not the easily torn and easily damaged E111.

But why do you need EHIC anyway especially if you already have a comprehensive travel and health insurance? Well, you have to understand that some private insurers don’t respond well to insurance claims for healthcare services that are otherwise free. For example, getting a routine blood glucose checkup is generally free. But if you are going to get it from a private practitioner, they will be charging you for such a simple procedure and your private insurers typically don’t like that.

Like its predecessor, the E111, the EHIC guarantees you equal access to the government-sponsored health programs of the country you are visiting. So when you do visit Latvia and frolic in the Art Nouveau architecture and the Vermanes Garden of Riga or even explore the different cathedrals, churches, and castles in the capital city’s historic and culturally influential Old Town, you will be entitled to the same health services that every other Latvian are entitled to receive from their government.

The EHIC is granted to all nationals or citizens of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the countries that represent the European Economic Area which is, technically, a clustering of two very unique European organizations – the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. What the EHIC does is it grants the citizens of these countries to receive healthcare services from public institutions duly recognized and fully covered by the state health insurance system of the country these citizens are visiting for a holiday. So the purpose is inherently clear. It should be used for travel purposes only.

Regrettably, this purpose is also what’s creating a confusion among some individuals thinking that the EHIC is a travel insurance replacement. Some don’t want to apply for the EHIC because they already have a comprehensive health and travel insurance. While this is possible, some insurers simply don’t like the idea of covering a particular treatment which could otherwise be obtained free of charge, as already explained above. So, the EHIC guarantees traveling Europeans equitable access to universal healthcare in the country they are visiting.

If you travel to Latvia and visit its many tourist attractions, you need to carry with you your EHIC. If you travel with your family, make sure that every member also has his or her own EHIC. This is because, unlike the E111 where there was only one document for the entire family, EHIC can be individually applied.

The good thing about the EHIC is that it provides coverage for the treatment of any pre-existing medical condition provided this is not the main reason why you are traveling; otherwise, EHIC won’t provide coverage. This often includes any need for oxygen therapy including renal dialysis as well as any other routine medical treatments for chronic conditions. The same principle can be applied to pregnant women who do not wish to give birth in Latvia but may require emergency maternity services. In this situation, EHIC can shoulder the healthcare costs related to the maternal services. However, if you purposely went to Latvia to give birth, then don’t expect any coverage from EHIC.

If Latvians receive medical care free of charge, then you can expect to receive the same level of care also free of charge. If it has to be paid for, it usually comes at a discounted rate and while you may shoulder part of this expense, it will be reimbursed to you. And this is the other beauty of EHIC. It helps facilitate the easier and faster processing of reimbursement claims.

Apply for Your EHIC Now

EEA nationals traveling to Latvia can best enhance the chances of them really enjoying their holidays by maintaining their health. But, because of the nature of accidents, it is always a lot better to visit Latvia fully prepared. Give MyEHIC a call now so they can help you get your EHIC in just a matter of minutes. It’s fast, efficient, and reliable. You can also process your child’s EHIC application using our service.