EHIC – The European Health Insurance Card

Written by on April 5, 2013 in Healthcare For Visitors

EHIC CardEHIC stands for the European Health Insurance Card. It’s purpose is to provide for “essential care for European holidaymakers in another EU state”.

The UK NHS states that “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”.

It can only be used by those on holiday and by those on short business trips. It does not replace holiday insurance cover. What it also does not do is cover anyone from an EU country, say the UK, settling in France and getting health care.

The EHIC card does not cover anyone from the UK who has moved to France on a residence basis.

It may be possible to use an EHIC card in the short term whilst awaiting healthcare registration and residency paperwork in the case of serious injury or illness but this is not a reliable method of healthcare.

If you become a resident of France and register with the French national health service – you will be entitled to a European Health Insurance Card which will cover you if you visit other European Economic Area countries including the UK.

Where do I get an EHIC card?

In the UK lots of web based companies offer to supply an EHIC card for a fee – the card is FREE. You can apply on line directly via the NHS EHIC website.

In France apply to your local CPAM (Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie – the organisation that administrates the French national health service via a network of local offices).

What will my EHIC card cover in France?

The NHS UK advise that if you need to use your EHIC card in France as a visitor you will be treated on the same basis as a resident of France. Treatment might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS and you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care. You may be able to seek reimbursement for this cost when you are back in the UK.

It is important that you ensure you are treated by a state healthcare provider as you will not be covered for private healthcare. You should be particularly careful if the healthcare arrangements have been made by a hotel or travel representative.

More on what the EHIC covers in France for UK visitors.

How to find a Doctor in France

How to find a Hospital in France

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