Eu­ro­pean Health In­sur­ance Card and how to ap­ply

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

My part­ner and I are plan­ning a hol­i­day in Spain. How do we ac­cess pub­lic health­care ser­vices if one of us be­comes ill when abroad?

YOU and your part­ner each need a Eu­ro­pean Health In­sur­ance Card (EHIC). This card al­lows you to ac­cess pub­lic health­care ser­vices if you be­come ill or get in­jured when trav­el­ling to or vis­it­ing cer­tain Eu­ro­pean coun­tries. It doesn’t cover pri­vate treat­ment or the cost of repa­tri­a­tion to Ire­land if re­quired.

The coun­tries cov­ered by the card are the 28 mem­ber states of the EU, the three other mem­bers of the EEA (Iceland, Liecht­en­stein, Nor­way) and Switzer­land. You don’t need the card for a visit to the UK if you can show that you are or­di­nar­ily res­i­dent in Ire­land. In prac­tice, this means show­ing a driv­ing li­cence, pass­port or sim­i­lar doc­u­ment.

If you have a smart­phone you can down­load the free EHIC app. This in­cludes emer­gency phone num­bers and in­for­ma­tion about treat­ments and costs cov­ered. The app does not re­place the card.

If you al­ready have a med­i­cal card or Drugs Pay­ment Scheme card, you can ap­ply on­line for your EHIC at ehic.ie.

Oth­er­wise, you can down­load an ap­pli­ca­tion form from ehic. ie or get one from your Lo­cal Health Of­fice. You need to pro­vide your name, ad­dress, date of birth and Personal Pub­lic Ser­vice num­ber (PPS num­ber). You may also need to show proof that you are or­di­nar­ily res­i­dent in Ire­land. If your EHIC has ex­pired you can re­new it on­line at ehic.ie. If your de­tails have changed (for ex­am­ple, your ad­dress) you need to con­tact your Lo­cal Health Of­fice to re­new the card.

If you have con­cerns about getting a new or re­newed card in time, you can get a Tem­po­rary Re­place­ment Cer­tifi­cate, ei­ther on­line or from your Lo­cal Health Of­fice. You may also wish to con­sider tak­ing out pri­vate travel in­sur­ance for ex­penses that are not cov­ered by the EHIC (such as the costs of repa­tri­a­tion).

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