Have you got your European Health card?

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Travelling to Europe?  Have you got your European Health card?   Have you checked the expiry date?

On a recent visit to Italy I was stung by a wasp, I really didn’t think much of it but within about 15 minutes I realised that the situation was very serious.  I had anaphylactic shock and it was only through quick thinking and the expertise of  Italy’s Volunteer Emergency Service and first class hospital treatment that I’m  here to tell the tale.     I did learn one or two lessons along the way.  Firstly, that carrying an EHIC card made things so much easier, especially in a foreign speaking country.  Secondly, I should have called  for an ambulance immediately (we had a good ticking off from the paramedics), and thirdly, the EHIC card has an expiry date.

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the old E111 in 2006.

Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you’re not going abroad to give birth.

The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland. For more information about what is covered in each country see our country-by-country guide .

You can apply for a free EHIC  online.

The EHIC is entirely free of charge. However, other unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them, so watch out.  To be sure of the direct application process click the link below:


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margaret wyatt
17th Jul 2013
Thanks for voting!
Steve you need proper insurance cover. I had to see the Dr in France this June I had a bad dose of shingles on my face. My card was not accepted I had to pay the Dr and then the Chemist for medication. total cost 79 euro. Trying to get it back via my insurance don`t think I am going to be successful. I am an asthmatic and got heart probs too also disabled and elderly.
nigel gullam
17th Jul 2013
Thanks for voting!
I have one for 5 years never go abroad to europe without it either it can save a lot of problems if your taken ill etc
17th Jul 2013
Thanks for voting!
Hello Steven, thanks for your question ... may we suggest you visit the following NHS website to get the answer to this question http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/about-the-ehic.aspx If you have any questions about the European Health Insurance Card you should contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999, who will advise you further. Travel Insurance policies cover all aspects of your travel, not just health issues, so it is always advisable to take out a Travel Insurance policy to ensure you are covered for other eventualities.
steven cutbill
17th Jul 2013
Thanks for voting!
thanks for advice re (EHIC) card you say it will cover me for existing medical conditions I just want to clarify with you and make me happy I have heart problems 2 heart attacks 11 stents unstable angina high blood pressure and I am disabled will I still be covered by the (EHIC) card and don't need to take out another travel insurance? I am going to Denmark and have only just got the card recently so its in date thanks
P.I. Staker
16th Aug 2012
Thanks for voting!
Will check mine now
14th Aug 2012
Thanks for voting!

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