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 The European Health Insurance Card

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PostSubject: The European Health Insurance Card   Wed Sep 15, 2010 10:23 am

The European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card is an essential step towards the simplification of our various healthcare systems. Introduced in June 2004, the card substantially facilitates access to medical assistance for EU citizens travelling to another Member State. Furthermore, it guarantees a quick and simplified reimbursement of expenses incurred locally or shortly after return to the place of residence. Since 1 January 2006, the European Health Insurance Card is issued and recognised by all concerned countries and replaces the previously used paper forms, such as the well-known E 111.

Who is entitled to the EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card is issued to:

* EU nationals
* nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA)
* Swiss nationals
* family members of the above, whatever their nationality
* nationals of other countries, who are covered by a social security system in one of the Member States of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

The EHIC should be requested from one’s national health insurance institutions before leaving for another EU country. All EU citizens are strongly advised to carry their European health insurance cards when travelling to other countries.

Benefits

While the main purpose of the European Health Insurance Card is to ensure easy access to health services during a temporary stay in another country, it also provides a series of additional benefits, for healthcare providers, patients and insurers alike. The main advantages of the EHIC may be summarised as follows:

* facilitated access to health care abroad
* quick and easy reimbursement of expenses
* security of data
* improved reliability
* less administration
* simplicity – simpler and faster procedures for obtaining healthcare

Generally speaking, this ‘smart card’ contains only basic information such as the card holder’s name and surname and date of birth, but no medical details. It is simple to use and easily recognisable. Further, the information is presented in a standardised way, so that it could be read regardless of the language.

What is a ‘Smart Card’?

A "
smart card"
is a pocket-sized plastic card, which looks identical to usual bank or credit cards.
Smart Cards have a small gold chip on the front. When inserted into a specific reader, the chip makes contact with electrical connectors that can read information from the chip and write information back.

What information is saved on my health card?

The only personal information on the European health insurance card is the card holder’s surname and first name, personal identification number and date of birth. The European health insurance card does not contain any medical data.

Where is my health card accepted?

The EHIC can be used to receive any kind of health service, being it at a general practitioner, a hospital or a pharmacy. The EU Member States are responsible for the introduction and dissemination of the health cards, but also for the provision of all concerned health care facilities with card readers.

Using the European Health Insurance Card abroad

It is important to note that the health insurance card does not provide for cases in which a patient intentionally decides to obtain medical treatment abroad. Rather, it is intended to insure people travelling to other countries for a limited period and thus covers medical care which becomes necessary during a stay on the territory of another Member State. When a need for access to healthcare arises, treatment will be provided according to the rules of that particular country (for example if healthcare is free of charge in that Member State, the visiting patient will also be entitled to free medical care when presenting his/her European Health Insurance Card).

The provisional replacement certificate

In case the individual in need of medical assistance is not in possession of his European Health Insurance Card, he can alternatively present a provisional replacement certificate that can easily be sent by fax or e-mail by the relevant home national health insurance institution. This certificate is equivalent to the EHIC and entitles the patient to the same treatment and reimbursement of benefits.

The design of the European Health Insurance Card

The design of the European Health Insurance Card is identical in all Member States and bears the European symbol. There are two variations of this layout:

* Standard EU design placed on the front of the card – leaving the back of the card free for content chosen by the respective Member State
* Standard EU design placed on the back of the card – in this case the Member State places the EHIC on the back of the existing national or regional health card

Each Member State can opt for one of the possible variants when issuing the health card.

Source: European Union
© European Communities, 2007-2010
Reproduction is authorised.

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PostSubject: Re: The European Health Insurance Card   Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:41 pm

Useful, also consider European health insurance coverage. s
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