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17 May 2010

European Health Insurance Card EHIC

The European Health Insurance Card is required by all UK citizens when travelling through Europe in the event they require emergency medical treatment.  It replaced the E111 form that used to be required.  The cards are valid for 5 years after which they can be renewed either on-line, by phone (tel 0845 6062030) or at a post office.
If you are thinking of renewing or applying for an EHIC on-line my advice to you is don't unless you like wasting money.  If you renew or apply for your card on-line you will be asked to pay nearly £10 for each card when you can get it done for free over the phone or by going into your post office.  Although the fee is made clear on the web site it is not mentioned that it is free if you use the other methods. 
The downside - The only downside is the time it takes to process the application but it's barely worth worrying about.  If you apply on-line and pay the fee you are told to expect the card to take up to 7 days to arrive.  By phone it is between 7 & 10 days so not a lot of difference.  OK, if you go into a post office then it can take up to 21 days but as long as your application is in the system it doesn't matter if your card doesn't arrive on time for your date of travel.  You are given a phone number you can use should you need to in the event you requiring emergency treatment whilst you are abroad.

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