Proper medical treatment is a must for all. Many states in the world provide free medical aid to their citizens while the private NGOs also facilitate the required medical treatment. Those desirous of availing free or discounted medical facilities in Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and European Union country can do so through the European health card. Such facilities are available in the GPs and state-run hospitals.
Following facts must be borne in mind by the persons that intend to hold the EHIC and make use of the relevant facilities –
EHIC is totally free and is valid for a period of five years.
It is much helpful for its holders that can avail the same treatment like the local citizens while they are in Europe. All UK residents, except the ones living in Channel Islands and Isle of Man are eligible for the medical treatment.
It is surprising to note that approx half of the UK people do not hold this card.
It may be noted that EHIC holders are not entitled for free treatment. They get the same treatment like that of the citizens of that particular country. If the latter are treated free then the EHIC holders are also eligible for free treatment. Same rates are applicable for the card holders too. Candidly, this is a reciprocal agreement across Europe, means the EU citizens are eligible to use the NHS in the same way.
Those going abroad just for getting treated are not covered under EHIC scheme.
EHIC replaces the old E111 form that was applicable in 2005. Those travelling in Europe are advised to hold an EHIC. It facilitates extra protection in addition to the usual travel insurance.
This card can be renewed up to six months prior the expiry of the existing EHIC.
Separate cards for children under sixteen are a must. It can be obtained by filling the relevant section of the application form that may be done by the guardians on behalf of the children.
The card must be possessed at all times by the card holders otherwise they may have to pay up front in case of emergencies. Alternatively, the Provisional Replacement Certificate may be necessitated to prove your entitlement for the discounted medical facilities in case you forget to carry EHIC.
Patient contributions have to be made by the persons holding EHIC when they visit certain countries. As rules keep on changing, so the card holders must get updated by visiting the NHS website.
EHIC is not any substitute for travel insurance. It is just a medical cover that facilitates access to the state-run hospitals depending upon the country to be visited by the card holders.
The free smart phone app for iPhone, Windows and Android provides valuable country-by-country info through the European Commission. Desirous persons can have the information about the places for treatment, costs and contact details in case they lose their EHIC. The information can be downloaded and used offline.
European health card is the valuable document that facilitates extraordinary health care facilities to the holders.