Don't forget your European Health Insurance Card

by Adrienne Wyper
123 passport and European Health Insurance Card - Don't forget your Ehic - Country & travel -

More snappily known as the Ehic, this card replaced the old form E111 back in 2006. It entitles you to reduced-cost (sometimes free) necessary medical treatment from the state in all European Economic Area countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It's completely free of charge to obtain and could save you a lot of money - and hassle. Click here to apply for your Ehic online, or visit the post office or call 0300 3301350. Be aware that there are several unofficial websites that will try to charge you, so use the official UK NHS website:

Each traveller needs one, although children can be included as dependants. It's easiest to carry your card with you when you travel, but you are covered even if you leave it at home.

Check that yours hasn't expired; the cards are valid for up to five years. Renewing it is free and you can renew when there's up to six months left to run. Click here to renew or apply for your Ehic online.

Don't make the mistake of many travellers: an Ehic is not a substitute for travel insurance, so make sure you're covered.

If you're unlucky enough to need to use your Ehic while you're abroad, click here to find out how to claim a refund. It's best to do this before you return home, but if you need to make a claim once you return to the UK, call the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999. You'll need your National Insurance number and UK bank or building society details. Keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary). You or your insurance company may need them if you're applying for a refund or reimbursement.

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