What Countries will Accept My EHIC?
Individuals traveling abroad either for holiday or official business can feel a lot more secure if they have their European Health Insurance Card with them. This card, which replaced the former E111, may allow them to be eligible to obtain medical treatments and other high quality state-funded health care services at a cost that is affordable if not absolutely free.
The European Health Insurance Card, dubbed EHIC, covers a variety of medical treatments for ailments or health conditions that may develop or occur while you are traveling to a particular country that is a signatory to the provisions of the EHIC. This also covers treatments for chronic or pre-existing health conditions such as renal problems and diabetes as well as for routine maternal care such as when you or your partner needs to have your or her regular prenatal checkup. The idea for the EHIC is for you to receive the same kind and quality medical care that the residents and nationals of the country you are visiting are receiving from their government so you don’t have to cut short your vacation or business trip and go rushing back home just to get treatment. Understand, however, that these treatments must only be obtained from institutions as well as providers who are duly funded by the country’s state social security or insurance system.
If you have EHIC, you can use it in the countries that belong to the European Union as well as the 4 members of the European Free Trade Association which includes Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein. With the exception of Switzerland, the EU and the last 3 members of the EFTA are also members of the European Economic Area. Switzerland was also supposed to be a member signatory of the EEA but the ratification of their membership was nullified in a mandatory referendum whereby majority of Swiss nationals objected to the inclusion of their country into the EEA. Nevertheless, Switzerland has long-standing bilateral agreements with individual members of both the EU and the EFTA which also guarantees their nationals to gain access to the public healthcare system of EEA member nations and vice versa.
The countries that make up the EU and where your European Health Insurance Card can be used include the following:
While the Brexit has created a stir in the EU, the UK is still very much a part of the European Union and as such are still entitled to the same benefits provided by the EHIC as any other EU member country. Unless the terms of the exit negotiations have been made final, the United Kingdom is still part of the EU.
It is equally important to understand that there are certain nations and principalities in Europe that don’t accept the EHIC. In these countries, you will have to make sure that you have the necessary valid travel insurance as well as comprehensive private healthcare insurance before traveling to these places. These include:
- San Marino
- The Channel Islands including Alderney, Guernsey, and Sark
- The Isle of Man
- The Vatican City
Before you travel make sure to double check the public health care policies of the country you will be traveling to. Try to learn how the different healthcare services can be availed of, what treatments are covered free, and what services will require some payment. You may also need to check reimbursement or refund guidelines. Some countries provide free ambulance services while others provide them but at a price. Some may also provide free dental treatments while others may not even cover such treatments. As such, it is important that you have with you, in addition to your EHIC, a comprehensive travel or health insurance.
Wherever you are in Europe, the number to call in case of an emergency is 112. For more information or questions you’d like to ask, you can visit the website of MyEHIC.