What does it cover?
If you are a UK resident it will cover you for medical treatment needed while in the European Economic Area (EEA), whether that is because of illness or an accident. This involves:
The EHIC is the equivalent replacement of the old E111, which became invalid as of January 2006.
Access to reduced-cost or free medical care from state healthcare providers.
Treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition during your stay.
Routine maternity care (as long as your sole reason for visiting the country is not to give birth).
Provision of oxygen, renal dialysis, and routine medical care.
The EHIC will not cover you if the main purpose of your trip is to receive medical treatment.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
What is not covered by the EHIC?
The EHIC will also not cover:
The costs of private healthcare that is not part of the state healthcare system
The cost of being brought back to the UK
Going abroad specifically to receive treatment, including giving birth
The EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, and does not cover you for things like lost or stolen luggage.
Is the EHIC still available following 'Brexit'?
Yes it is for now. Your card will still be valid until Britain has officially left the EU, and maybe beyond.
Part of the negotiations to leave may include keeping the EHIC. Also if Britain remains a part of the EEA after leaving the EU the EHIC should remain available beyond Brexit.
There are likely to be at least two years of negotiations before Britain leaves the EU, and until then you will be able to use your EHIC when you travel.
How can you apply?
There are three ways you can apply:
Call an automated application line on 0300 330 1350
You will need to provide your:
Date of birth
National Insurance number
You can also apply for an EHIC on behalf of someone else such as your spouse and any children under 16 years, as long as you have all the relevant information.
Once you receive your EHIC it will be valid for up to five years.
Always apply through the NHS, and avoid websites that may charge you to apply.
You can renew your card online up to six months before the expiry date, provided your details have not changed.
If your details have changed, or your card has expired, you should apply for a new EHIC.