A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) enables you to access state-provided medical treatment while travelling in European Union member countries. The cards, which are available to anyone over the age of sixteen, cover not only accidents or injuries that might be sustained whilst staying overseas, but may also be used if treatment is urgently required for a pre-existing condition, or for basic maternity care. In most cases this treatment will be free at the point of delivery, or provided at a reduced cost.
EHICs are valid for up to five years, and can be renewed up to six months before their expiry date. Renewing your EHIC, or applying for a first EHIC, is a simple process that can in most cases be done online.
Replacing Your EHIC Online
In order to renew or apply for an EHIC, you must be resident in the UK and be a British or European national. If you are travelling as a family, you will not be covered as a group and each individual must have their own EHIC. As well as applying for your EHIC, you may also apply on behalf of a spouse or partner and for any children who are under the age of nineteen and in full-time education. Children under the age of sixteen cannot apply for their own EHIC. Their application must be made by a parent or legal guardian.
The first time you apply for an EHIC you will be asked to provide your full name, date of birth, full UK address and your National Insurance or NHS number. If you are renewing your EHIC and none of these details have changed, all you need to do is complete the online form and your card will be re-issued.
If, however, your address has changed, you will need to contact the organisation that is issuing your new card before completing the online registration. Once they have been notified, you will be able to complete the online form as normal and your replacement EHIC will be sent to your new address.
Your details and your European Health Card
If your name has changed since your last card was issued, you will only be able to renew online if you have a PIN number. This can be found on your existing EHIC, printed on the same line as your date of birth and beginning with the letters ‘UK’. When applying for or renewing your EHIC you should keep this number to hand, as this will help staff identify you more easily and will speed up the application process.
If your EHIC is lost or stolen you will need to contact the organisation that issued your card in order to apply for a replacement. You will have to provide your name, date of birth, address and your PIN number, if known. If your card is lost while you are travelling within the European Union, you should contact your provider immediately and request a Provisional Replacement Certificate. This serves as an EHIC for the duration of your stay abroad until a replacement card can be issued.