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Packing is hard. There are a million things to remember, like for example your ID or passport. But it’s also a good idea to think about what can happen once you arrive. If you get sick when you’re abroad, your ID won’t be enough – you’ll need your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
How does it work?
This card gives you the right to medically necessary, state‑provided healthcare while holidaying, studying or volunteering anywhere in the EU (as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).
To be more specific, while you are in a foreign country, this card guarantees you medical treatment under the same conditions and at the same cost as locals insured in that country. If the medical treatment is free for local residents, you will not have to pay. If the country requires payment, you can either ask for reimbursement from local authorities, or put in a claim with your health insurer back home. Always remember that the expenses are reimbursed according to the rules of the country where you receive the treatment and each country’s healthcare system is different. So, services that are free at home might not be free in another country.
But it doesn’t cover everything, so it’s also important that you have travel insurance. For example, if you need a rescue team, private healthcare or a trip to come back home, you may need your own insurance to cover that part.
Where can you get it?
This card is available to anyone insured by or covered by a state social security system in the EU 27, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Check out your national service online, they can get you a card of your own if you don’t already have one.
Get the app
The European Health Insurance Card has developed an app jam-packed with all the information you’ll need to know when away from home. For example, the app gives you practical advice helpful for unexpected situations abroad - including the 112 Europe-wide emergency number and an outline of potential treatment costs. This app is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows 7 mobile and comes in 24 languages; it even allows you to switch between languages, making communication with hospital staff a lot easier if you haven’t gotten round to taking those language courses yet.