Wednesday, 2 September 2009

European Health Insurance Card

If you plan to travel to the Continent during your stay in Britain, you'll want to make sure you apply for a European Health Insurance card. This card, which is FREE to obtain, entitles you to health care while you are away. "The EHIC covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip...(you'll have) access to state-provided medical treated on the same basis as an 'insured' person living in the country you're visiting. Remember, this...may mean that you have to make a financial contribution to the cost of your care (a 'co-payment')." The card is valid for five years and can be renewed when it expires. "People who are ordinarily resident in the UK are entitled to a UK-issued EHIC (but it is not valid for people who are going to live abroad)."

For those who do not have UK nationality (such as Americans living in the UK), this health insurance is valid in all EU countries, but not in Denmark, Norway, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Iceland will treat patients for emergency care only.

Here's what you need to do to apply.

1. Go to your local Post Office and request an application form for the European Health Insurance Card. They may tell you just to apply online. If they do, tell them you can't and that you need a paper form. Currently (at the time of writing this post) it is not possible for non-UK nationals to apply online, therefore you need to get an application from the Post Office.

2. Fill out the form. You will need your NHS number or, alternatively, your National Insurance Number. You need only one form per family.

3. In the envelope provided, mail the form to the EHIC Applications Centre. You should receive your new card within 2-3 weeks.

For further information, see the following website:

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