As a UK national, you are entitled to a European Health Insurance Card. This card gives you easy access to publicly-provided healthcare in case of injury or illness when travelling throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe, known as the European Economic Area (EEA).
If you live in another EEA country but receive a UK State Pension, or another benefit that is paid to you when you move abroad, known as an “exportable benefit”, you may still be able to claim a UK-issued EHIC. For further information, visit the NHS Choices webpage on EHIC for pensioners and early retirees [http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/ehic-pensioners-and-early-retirees.aspx].
How to apply
You can apply for your EHIC through the NHS website [http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx], by telephone or by post.
What personal information do I need to provide?
You will need to give your full name, address, date of birth, and your National Insurance or NHS number if you are a resident of England and Wales. If you live in Scotland, you need to provide your CHI number. If you live in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to give your Health and Care number.
What is covered by my EHIC in Ireland?
The UK and Irish authorities have made an agreement whereby UK residents don’t need to show an EHIC to access public healthcare services during a temporary stay in Ireland. It is sufficient to provide proof of your UK residence, such as your driving license, passport or any documents that show your NHS/CHI or Health and Care number.
If you don’t want to carry these hard-to-replace documents with you whenever you leave your accommodation, getting an EHIC is the safest option.
If you do require medical attention while in Ireland, make sure you receive public healthcare, as the cost of private medical treatment will not be covered by your EHIC or the UK-Ireland agreement.
Public health services are provided in hospitals and communities across Ireland.
In case of a serious emergency, call 999 or 112. These are the numbers for contacting ambulance, police, fire and coastguard services. Calls are free of charge.
I have travel insurance – do I still need an EHIC?
Even if you have European travel insurance, an EHIC can provide a number of added benefits:
– With travel insurance, you usually have to pay upfront, and reclaim the money later. With your EHIC, you either pay nothing for medical care, or greatly reduce the amount of money you need to pay upfront to get necessary treatment while on holiday.
– Even if you do need to pay for some charges upfront, showing the EHIC can minimise red tape, saving you time and hassle – especially beneficial at a time when you’re unlikely to be feeling at your best, and stress is the last thing you need.
– Some insurance policies won’t cover expenses incurred that could have been free if you’d had an EHIC. Also, many insurers will remove the excess on claims for healthcare if you used your EHIC, saving you around £50 to £100.
– The EHIC covers you for treatment for pre-existing and chronic medical conditions, including asthma or diabetes, which many insurance policies refuse to cover.
Where else can I use my EHIC?
The EHIC covers your medical treatment during a temporary stay in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EEA is made up of all 28 member states of the European Union, plus the four additional countries included in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Therefore, your EHIC essentially covers you for necessary medical treatment wherever you go in Europe.
The EHIC replaced the previous E111 form of a similar nature in 2006. One card is required per individual traveller, whether adult or child.
So don’t leave it to chance – get covered with a European Health Insurance Card.