The European Health Insurance Card (Replaces E111)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to access state-provided healthcare in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge.
E111 forms have been invalid since January 2006. Holders of E111 forms should apply immediately for the EHIC to maintain the level of cover provided by the scheme.
All UK residents are entitled to an European Health Insurance Card, and should carry their card with them whenever they visit any country covered by the scheme.
The card is personal to each individual, so even infants need a card in their own name.
EHICs are issued free via the NHSBSA and you may apply direct without incurring any verification service fee.
The reciprocal healthcare arrangement covered by the scheme does NOT entitle you to free or low cost treatment where you are travelling abroad specifically for such treatment. It is designed to provide healthcare where it is deemed medically necessary. This can, however, include situations where you have a pre-existing condition and the need for medical attention arises whilst abroad.
It is absolutely essential that you take out appropriate travel insurance - EHIC is NOT a substitute. You will find that many travel insurance companies now insist that you also have an EHIC when travelling to any of the countries covered by the scheme - or at least will give you better terms if you have a valid EHIC.
EHICs issued in the UK to UK residents are valid for 5 years only. After this time, you will need to apply to renew your card.