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EHIC card. How to make it, how much it costs, what it gives and how important it is

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Spring has come, summer is just around the corner, and this is the time when we are more willing to go abroad. Both for shorter and longer stays. Although we do not assume that something will happen to us on the trip, it is better to be cautious and equip yourself with a special EHIC card. It will help us avoid additional costs, as well as the stress associated with high bills for treatment.

Where is the EHIC valid?

The European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC for short, is an EU document, thanks to which we have the right to treatment during tourist or professional trips to most European countries. These are: European Union countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Great Britain.

Card it is also valid in overseas territories: French (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion, St Pierre-et-Miquelon and French Guiana), Portuguese (Azores and Madeira), Spanish: (Balearic Islands and Canary Islands).

The EHIC is not valid in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican.

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The EHIC card is issued for free. It should be noted that the EHIC may be issued only to persons who are registered for health insurance or are entitled to health services financed from public funds in accordance with national regulations. What’s more, the EHIC card will be valid together with the ID card. Without it, we won’t be able to use it.

EHIC card. What provides?

The provisions establishing the EHIC entitle the holder to all health services abroad that are necessary at a given moment during a stay in a given country. This could be an issue accident on the roadstroke, broken leg, or medical care related to a chronic or already diagnosed disease, as well as pregnancy and childbirth.

The EHIC card provides access to treatment according to the same rules as citizens of a given country. This does not always mean zero costs, because in some European Union countries there is an obligation to pay some of them in connection with a visit to the doctor. For example, in Germany it is 10 euros per day of hospital stay, and in France you have to pay 30 percent. doctor’s fee.

Mostly it’s like that settlement of the treatment takes place between the relevant institutions – the National Health Fund and its equivalent in a given country. However, it may happen that despite having an EHIC card, we will have to pay for the treatment ourselves, and then we will have to apply for a refund. It should also be emphasized that, as in Poland, not all doctors have signed contracts with the insurer. Therefore, before we use the services of a doctor, we need to make sure that we get to one that has it and recognizes the EHIC card.

What costs are not covered by the EHIC?

It is worth remembering that the EHIC card does not cover expenses related to planned treatment. If we would like to take advantage of such an option, e.g. due to the unavailability of a certain method of treatment in Poland, we have to apply for it separately by submitting an appropriate application to a branch of the National Health Fund.

In the case of, for example, a sudden problem with the teeth, the dentist will help us, but there is no need to count on a premium service for free, we will get the cheapest filling.

As a rule, the EHIC card will not cover the costs associated with returning to the country in the event of a sudden illness. However, if the treatment under the EHIC would be long and expensive and it turns out that transport to Poland will be cheaper, then we can submit an application to cover the costs of transport to the place where further treatment will take place.

If you are planning a skiing trip, it is still worth getting an additional private travel insurance that will cover the cost of transport from the slopes or the help of lifeguards. For example, in Austria, such assistance is considered a private benefit that can be expensive.

How to get an EHIC card?

The EHIC card is issued to each citizen individually. If we are going on a family vacation, then each family member must have their own – children too.

To obtain an EHIC, we must submit an appropriate application to the National Health Fund. We can do it in several ways: in person at the ward, by traditional mail, by sending an e-mail, by submitting an application online via ePUAP or via the Patient’s Internet Account.

Submitting the application in person has the advantage that we will get the EHIC card right away. In other cases, it takes from a few to several days. Longer during the holiday season (June to September), when there may be more applications.

How long is the EHIC card valid for?

The validity period of the card can range from all of a sudden 42 days to as much as 20 years and depends on several factors, including age or employment status. According to the National Health Fund, these periods are:

– Twenty years, card issued to people who receive a retirement benefit and have reached the retirement age – 60 years for women and 65 years for men.

– up to 18 years of age, card issued to persons who: – are registered for health insurance as a family member – have their own insurance title or receive a disability pension

– 5 yearsa card issued to persons who: – receive retirement benefits and have not reached the retirement age – 60 years of age for women and 65 years of age for men – are under 18 years of age and have no insurance, but have Polish citizenship;

– 3 yearsa card issued to insured persons who: – are employed, – run non-agricultural and agricultural activities economic activity– receive an allowance / pre-retirement benefit;

– 18 monthsa card issued to insured persons who: – receive a disability pension and are over 18 years of age, – are registered for health insurance as a family member over the age of 18, – are students, pupils and doctoral students, – are pupils, are over 18 years of age years old and own title to insurance;

– 6 months, card issued for: – uninsured women during pregnancy and childbirth who have Polish citizenship and live in the territory of the Republic of Poland, – uninsured women during pregnancy and childbirth who have refugee status or subsidiary protection or a temporary residence permit and live in the territory of the Republic of Poland – children who have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection or a temporary residence permit and live in the territory of the Republic of Poland, – persons employed under an agency agreement, a contract of mandate or another contract for the provision of services of outworkers;

– 2 monthsa card issued to the unemployed registered in the employment office and insured persons not mentioned earlier,

– 90 days, card issued to persons who meet the income criterion for receiving social assistance benefits and are entitled pursuant to Art. 54 of the Act on health care services financed from public funds,

– 42 days, a card issued to postpartum women who have Polish citizenship and live in the territory of the Republic of Poland.

Do I need to have additional documents when applying for an EHIC?

In some cases, when applying for an EHIC card, we will need to have additional documents:

– an identity card confirming the continuation of education in a situation where we are over 18 years old and we are still a student, student or doctoral student and we have been reported for insurance as a family member,

– A1 document issued by ZUS or KRUS in connection with the performance of work (issued in electronic form),

– U2 document, which is issued by the employment office when we go abroad in search of work;

– authorization – in a situation where the application for an EHIC card is submitted for another person.

In other cases it is National health Fund deals with the confirmation of the right to the benefit on the basis of data from its database. The fact of insurance is confirmed, for example, by a current certificate filled in by the contribution payer, a certificate from KRUS or ZUS, or a pensioner’s ID card.

Main photo source: Alessio Catelli / Shutterstock.com

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