If you have an accident or fall ill abroad, you can get reduced-cost or free state-provided medical treatment in European member states with this free service for UK residents.
How it works
Anyone over the age of 16 can apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) online or by calling the NHS on 0300Local call rates apply. Call costs may vary depending on your service provider. Calls are recorded for training and monitoring purposes. 330 1350. The EHIC is entirely free of charge. However, other unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them.
Once you’ve got your card, if you need medical treatment and you can’t wait to receive it, you’ll be able to get free or reduced-cost treatment so you can stay until your planned return.
Your card is valid for five years and each card covers just one person. Got a child under 16? Include them on your application and you’ll both receive your own EHIC.
You can also get treatment for a chronic or pre-existing medical condition if it becomes necessary during your trip.
You could be treated in; Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (Southern), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Your EHIC card may not cover all your medical costs, private hospitals, the cost of your flight home, lost baggage, trip cancellations and so on. For that you’ll need Travel Insurance.
The Department of Health and the British Embassy in Madrid have produced this video to help British holidaymakers planning a trip to Spain to fully understand the importance of having a valid EHIC, how to use it and what it entitles the cardholder to.
Remember, the EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland. For more information, see the country-by-country guide.