The E111 Card — Now Called the EHIC Card

Formerly known as the E111 card, the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) is a free card that allows a traveler to designate emergency and healthcare treatment preferences for the country they are visiting in the European Economic Area (EEA). The EHIC is linked to a program by which any person who is covered by a statutory social security plan within any of the EEA countries as well as Switzerland can obtain medical treatment coverage in any other member state for free or for a reduced cost.

Purpose of the European Health insurance Card

The purpose behind the EHIC program is to allow a person to continue to receive medical care in the country they are visiting without the need to return to their home country for certain types of medical care. This becomes important in cases where immediate medical treatment is necessary, for example, due to the onset of a severe illness or when one has suffered injury from an accident. The program is also intended to provide coverage for those with a chronic medical condition that requires ongoing medical treatment, such as kidney dialysis. The reason behind the use of the European Health Insurance Card is that, in Europe, health care coverage is based on the country of one’s legal residence and not on one’s country of citizenship. For this reason, a passport will not suffice to receive health care coverage in the country one is visiting. On certain occasions, however, a photo ID (such as a passport) may be asked for, as the European Health Insurance Card does not have a photo.

History of the European Health Insurance Card

The process of phasing in the EHIC began on June 01, 2004 and proceeded through 2005. Upon its implementation, the EHIC replaced these medical forms that were in existence at the time:

>> E111 — designed for use by tourists

>> E128 — intended for use by students and workers from another member state

>> E119 — for unemployed persons seeking jobs

>> E110 — designed for persons involved in international road hauling

On January 01, 2006, the European Health Insurance Card became the only medical health care coverage document accepted by all the European member countries. The EHIC is accepted in all approved French overseas departments, such as French Guiana, Guadalupe, Martinique, and Réunion, because they are a part of the European Economic Area (EEA). Non-EEA dependent territories like French Polynesia, Aruba, the Isle of Man and Jersey are not covered by the EHIC. This having been said, agreements have been set up for the use of the EHIC in Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are not a part of the EEA.

Thirty-two European countries are included in the EHIC plan. They include the 31 EEA member states plus Switzerland:

>> United Kingdom

>> Switzerland

>> Sweden

>> Spain

>> Slovenia

>> Romania

>> Portugal

>> Poland

>> Norway

>> Netherlands

>> Malta

>> Luxembourg

>> Lithuania

>> Liechtenstein

>> Latvia

>> Italy

>> Ireland

>> Iceland

>> Hungary

>> Greece

>> Germany

>> France

>> Finland

>> Estonia

>> Denmark

>> Czech Republic

>> Cyprus

>> Croatia

>> Bulgaria

>> Belgium

>> Austria