All about the European Health Insurance Card
The card has the same appearance and technical features across all issuing member States in order to be immediately recognizable.
Who can benefit from the European Health Insurance Card ?
Anyone who is insured or covered by the social security of an European Economic Area country (+ Switzerland). Even children have to get one because the EHIC is individual and nominative.
How to get it ?
You must apply for an EHIC from your local health insurance fund. It’s free to get the EHIC and the procedure is very easy. It just requires some anticipation. Indeed, it takes 3 weeks to receive the card. But in case of urgent departure, you can ask for a provisional certificate that has the same role as the card.
The term of validity of the card varies according to the issuing country. For example, In France the card is valid for 2 years, whereas in Italy it is for 6 years and in Poland for 6 months in general.
What are the guarantees covered by the EHIC ?
This card allows to benefit from medical treatment in another country for free or at reduced cost. It entitles you to medically necessary care, which means that you will not have to return to your State of habitual residence early in order to receive the necessary treatment.
The holder of the card has access to medically necessary and state-provided healthcare under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.
How to use the card ?
The way to proceed is different from one country to another. You can find here the country-by-ountry process.