Free European Health Insurance Card – EHIC

If you are planning on travelling within Europe  – it’s a good idea to apply for a European Health Insurance Card  (EHIC ) (Formerly known as the E111)

The EHIC is a FREE card available to all residents of Ireland which entitles them to get free or reduced-price public healthcare if needed whilst travelling in Europe.

An EHIC card allows you access to health care services when travelling to other EU or EEA countries. It doesn’t cover all medical costs in all countries.
It won’t cover private medical costs or the cost of repatriation back to Ireland. For extra cover and peace of mind, you should probably also have travel insurance.

The  EHIC card gives you access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost (free in some countries) as people insured in that country.

Irish Residents Visiting the UK  –

Note:  Irish residents don’t need a European Health Insurance Card,to get necessary healthcare while on a temporary visit to the UK. It is enough to show proof that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland –  such as a driving licence, passport or similar document. You may need your PPS number.
This arrangement has not been affected by Brexit.

The reverse also applies to UK residents visiting Ireland. They don’t need an EHIC card to get necessary healthcare while on a temporary visit to Ireland. Proof of UK residence and your National Insurance number is enough.  This is not affected by Brexit.

Travel Insurance Tip:

N26 – the new online bank – have travel and medical insurance included with their N26 You Account . Insurance is provided by Allianz .
The card has a €9.90 per month fee – but it also comes with fee-free ATM withdrawals of foreign currency and no fees on non-Euro purchases.

There is no requirement to pay partially or fully for the Trip with the N26 You Account or its attached payment card(s) for you to be eligible for Travel Medical Emergency & Assistance .

At least one travel expense must be paid with the N26 You Account to be eligible for Luggage Delay Insurance, Luggage Loss, Theft or Damage, Flight Delay, Travel Cancellation Insurance, Travel Curtailment Insurance.

Apply for EHIC

Irish residents can apply here to the HSE for an EHIC card .

It normally takes 10 days or less to receive your EHIC card. Online applications are only available for medical card holders or people on the drug payment scheme. All others have to apply by post or in person at a limited number of locations.

There is no charge for an EHIC  : beware of some websites trying to look like the official HSE EHIC application site. They will try to charge you as much as €40 to redirect you to the HSE site or to send you a form.

It is advisable also to take out travel insurance even if you have an EHIC.

The EHIC  doesn’t cover 100% of medical costs in all countries (see examples below). It doesn’t cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or treatment of a non-urgent nature. Also, some private hospitals may not accept the EHIC .

Some Examples of EHIC Cover

France :

Visitors must first pay for treatment and then apply for a refund of part of the costs. Around 70% of standard doctors’ and dentists’ fees are refunded, and between 35% and 65% of the cost of most, but not all, prescribed medicines.

Hospital treatment
For in-patient treatment, an EHIC will entitle you to get 75% of the cost paid directly to the hospital. You pay the balance. You must also pay a fixed daily hospital charge (forfait journalier).

GP – Treatment under the European Health Insurance Card is only provided by practitioners within the Spanish Health Service.  If you need to call out a doctor in an emergency, make it clear that you have a European Health Insurance Card and that you will want to be treated under EU arrangements.

Dental treatment costs will not be reimbursed.

Medicines prescribed –  You will have to pay up to 40% of the cost unless you are a pensioner, in which case the medicines will be free of charge.

Hospital treatment
If you require urgent treatment, it will only be provided free of charge in a public ward at a public hospital if you have an EHIC .

Portugal – Basic hospital treatment is free with an EHIC but you will have to pay for secondary examinations, such as X-rays, and laboratory tests.

EU Tourists visiting Ireland with an EHIC will be entitled to 100% free GP services, A&E services and  Hospital inpatient treatment.