EHIC or the European Health Insurance Card allows an individual to receive all kinds of medical treatments in member states at reduced costs or complete free of cost. However, this facility is available only to the people who are covered or insured by a legal social security plan in Switzerland and the EEA countries. It is also to be noted that this card is issued completely free of cost. The free treatment or the treatment at reduced cost is only available if the treatment turns out to be necessary during an individual’s visit to the member states or in case an individual has a serious pre-existing condition which needs to be treated like kidney dialysis. Validity of this card differs as per the country that issues the card.

What Does the Card Cover?

The European Health Insurance Card is generally valid for a period of three to five years. It covers all sorts of medical treatments that might become important during a family trip, either due to an accident or because of illness. This card provides easy access to some state-provided medical treatments. People with this card are treated on a similar basis as the insured individuals that live in the country that is being visited. This card also covers the treatments needed for pre-existing medical conditions or chronic diseases. However, arrangements need to be made in advance for oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis. It is to be noted that this card would not cover your medical expenses if getting medical treatment is the main motive behind your trip. The card covers people for regular maternity care while they are away.

Does the Card mean that Healthcare is completely free of Cost?

This largely depends on the country an individual is visiting and the nature of the medical requirements of an individual. There are countries that offer free healthcare to people as long as they need medical attention through state facilities. However, there are other countries that offer reduced costs on medical treatments. This means that people have to make some payments depending on the varied healthcare policies of the country.

The Motive and the Applicability of the Card

The main intention of this scheme is allowing people to continue staying in a particular country without the necessity of returning to their home country for getting medical treatment. This card is applicable in almost all the French overseas departments due to the fact that these departments are a part of EEA. However, it is not applicable in the non-EEA dependent territories like the Isle of Man, French Polynesia or Aruba and Jersey. There are some agreements on the use of this card in Greenland and the Faroe Islands in spite of the fact that these are not in EEA. The main reason behind the existence of EHIC is the fact that the sole right to proper health care in Europe is particularly based on country with legal residence and not with citizenship. Thus, a passport might not be considered enough for receiving health care. Nevertheless, you might be asked for a photo ID because the card does not carry a photo.


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