The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a free card that lets you have the right of accessing the state-provided healthcare during your temporary stay in any of the twenty-seven countries of European Union. It also includes Switzerland and the EEA (European Economic Area) nations of Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. The advantages of the EHIC include in-patient stays and GP visits. Most of the countries that have a health system like that of NHS, except that you might have to pay a minimal amount as the cost of treatment, for instance, to see the GP. You might also need to pay up for care, and afterwards, claim it back when you come back home.
The need for travel insurance besides EHIC
Many people think of EHIC as something that provides all the emergency cover as needed. They believe that E111 Renewal will let them happily let go of all benefits offered by travel insurance. However, this is a gross misconception as EHIC is not the alternative to the travel insurance and it will not cover any private medical costs or healthcare.
When you are seeking treatment, it is necessary to ensure that you get the treatment in public health systems and not as private patients. These are the two categories that are not easily discernible, and so, you need to take care that you get the treatment for an EHIC patient if your condition allows you to be so.
The coverage of EHIC in the regions of Europe
EHIC does not cover all the places of Europe, and there are some areas that are omitted which include the Vatican, San Marino, Monaco, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. If these are any of the places that are included in your travel itinerary, make sure you get travel insurance before you go for an E111 Renewal.
While the places like Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia lie outside the EEA and the EU, the United Kingdom has many reciprocal healthcare agreements that work similar to the EHIC. There are similar arrangements in other countries as well, like New Zealand and Australia for which EHIC is not needed. However, the thing to note here is that these treaties will not cover your journey between Australasia and the UK.
The ways to get an EHIC
You can search online when looking for an EHIC, but there are many online sites that are fraudulent and charge you a hefty amount but come to no aid. It is best to log on to a trusted site and apply for the card. The card remains valid for five years. You can make an application for the replacement after four and half years, which might be convenient and it is definitely a good idea as it will be a hassle if your old card expires while you are travelling.
If you lose the EHIC card when you are in the United Kingdom, you can apply for a new one right then. If you lose it abroad, you can call up the overseas healthcare team.