The European Health Insurance Card: EHIC

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The European Health Insurance Card covers the holder for health care that becomes medically necessary during a temporary stay (vacation, business trips, etc.) in another European Union member State, Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, or Switzerland.

What is the EHIC?

The European health insurance card was created on June 1st, 2004. It is used during a temporary stay in a member State other than the member State of insurance, whatever the purpose of the stay (business or non-business) or the cardholder's status (employed, retired, unemployed, student, etc.).

The card has the same appearance and technical features across all issuing member States in order to be immediately recognizable.

The EHIC is personal, made out in the holder's name and free of charge. Each separate member of a family traveling must have his/her own card, including children under the age of 16. Cards issued by France are valid for 2 years (the card's length of validity varies by issuing State).

If the card cannot be issued prior to your departure (late application) you will be issued a provisional replacement certificate. It is valid for three months.

What is the EHIC used for?

The EHIC guarantees direct access to the public health system in the country you are visiting, with no need for prior application to the local health authority. When you show your EHIC, you will receive the same health services as if you were insured in the country you are visiting.

With the EHIC, you will receive health care benefits-in-kind pursuant to the legislation of the country that you are visiting. The card entitles you to medically necessary care, which means that you will not have to return to your State of habitual residence early in order to receive the necessary treatment.

The EHIC also covers chronic or pre-existing conditions as well as pregnancy and childbirth, if the purpose of the trip to another country is not to receive care.

Indeed, the EHIC is not valid if you are traveling for the purpose of receiving healthcare. That would be what is commonly known as "scheduled" care. It is not a substitute for private travel insurance (rescue, repatriation).

If you did not apply for reimbursement of your medical expenses during your trip abroad, you can submit your bills and proof of payment to local health fund once you return to France.

As a matter of course, always show your EHIC or your provisional replacement certificate to any healthcare providers you see during your trip abroad.

As fron December 1st, 2015, you can use the Ameli mobile app to apply for an EHIC and view an image of your card once it has been issued.

Who is eligible?

These provisions are applicable if you are a citizen:

Where do I apply for an EHIC?

You must apply for an EHIC from your local health insurance fund.

Please note that the Cleiss does not issue the EHIC.

Is the EHIC valid worldwide?

No, the EHIC can only be used in countries applying European regulations: these are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Republic of Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

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