What Does The Term EHIC Stand For?
If you have been traveling overseas, whether it is for a very short business trip or even a lengthy family vacation, more often than not you have already heard people talking about EHIC. And then you ask yourself, “What are they talking about? Is it really important? Am I eligible to apply for it? Should I have one, too?”
EHIC is the acronym for the European Health Insurance Card which is, technically, the more modern and more functional version of the now-obsolete E111. Like the E111, the European Health Insurance Card is a document that you will need to present to a state-funded healthcare institution or a state-certified healthcare practitioner to avail of their medical or health care treatments completely free or for a minimal fee. This card is accepted by participating European countries that make up the European Union and the European Free Trade Association. The treatments that you receive are dependent on the existing healthcare delivery system of these countries. For example, if you go to Italy, then the healthcare services you are entitled to are those that are in accordance with the healthcare framework of Italy. If you go to Switzerland or even to Iceland, then you will be subject to the specific provisions of their own healthcare system.
The purpose of the EHIC is to make sure that your travels go uninterrupted so you get to enjoy your holiday or even accomplish your official business in the country. This is because traveling often entails a lot of risks as accidents can happen or you may fall ill all of a sudden. It would be grossly impractical to cut short your business trip so you can seek medical treatment from your own country when you can already be treated in the host country. As long as you did not enter the host country just so you can receive treatment or even to give birth to your child, then the European Health Insurance Card will take care of your fundamental healthcare needs.
It should be made clear that under no circumstances should the EHIC be viewed as a travel insurance replacement. This is not the case because EHIC will only cover countries that are members of either the EU or the EFTA. Additionally, each country may have a different policy in relation to the treatment or management of a particular health condition. Whereas a certain disease can be covered absolute free of charge in one country, the same disease may not be fully covered in another country’s public health care system. Moreover, EHIC does not cover auxiliary services such as mountain rescue and even ambulance services in certain countries. So, you will need to have a separate health and travel insurance to complement your EHIC.
Getting an EHIC is easy. Some countries provide it automatically. Some countries will require its citizens to apply for it. Online applications are now very common. It’s easy, fast, and very convenient. You just have to supply all the correct information such as your complete name, your home or residential address, your birthdate, and your national insurance number. You can also apply for EHIC for other people. In fact, it is advisable to put your children as your dependents in your EHIC application so they, too can receive their respective EHICs. If you know someone below 16 years old and who doesn’t have an EHIC, you can apply for him or her, too. However, before you do so, make sure you ask permission from his or her parents or guardians first. You can also renew or even make changes in your EHIC records online. And if you need a replacement for lost EHIC, this can be done online, too.
The European Health Insurance Card has a validity of 5 years which takes full effect upon completion and approval of your application. This means that if you apply and get approved today, the official start of your 5-year EHI coverage will also be today. You can start renewing your EHIC as early as 6 months before its expiration date.
The EHIC is a must-have for all nationals of the EFTA and the EU. If you need more information on EHIC and how it can help you and your family, you can contact MyEHIC. They are more than willing to assist.