Introducing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

05 September 2005

If you’ve ever been on holiday in Europe, you may have had an E111 form to entitle you to free or reduced-cost health care if you get ill or have an accident. The E111 form is now being replaced with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

From September 1st 2005, you need to apply for an EHIC instead of an E111. This can be done:

  • by completing a form in the post office (your card will be delivered in 21 days),
  • by completing the online form (your card will be delivered in seven days), or
  • by calling 0845 606 2030 (your card will be delivered in 10 days).

    EHICEvery family member needs their own card. You can apply for an EHIC for your spouse/partner and any children up to the age of 16 (or 19 if they are in full-time education) at the same time as applying for your own. Before you apply, you need to have the name, date of birth and NHS or national insurance (NI) number of everyone you are applying for.

    If you already have an E111 and applied for it after 18th August 2004, don’t worry - you can use it until 31st December 2005. If you applied for it before then, it is no longer valid. If you have recently applied for an E111, and ticked the box indicating you would like to be sent an EHIC, this should be with you soon.

    The EHIC lasts for 3-5 years and allows UK nationals to receive free or reduced-cost emergency healthcare when visiting European Economic Area (EEA) countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. See the Department of Health website for where the EHIC is valid. The treatment will be free or at a reduced cost, but private treatment is not usually covered.

    For more information on the EHIC see the Department of Health’s advice for travellers or call the EHIC Enquiries Line on 0845 605 0707.

    Source: Department of Health