The EHIC covers all health care which is needed during a temporary stay in one of the 31 participating countries other than the country of residence, be it for travel, for work or for studies. The card entitles you, in case of illness or accident, to the same medical treatment and on the same basis as local patients, as if you were insured in the state of stay.
As each Member State has its own rules for public medical provision, the EHIC covers free medical treatment in some Member States, whilst in other Member States it covers reduced cost medical treatment. Some Member States may provide care free at the point of use (such as Spain or the United Kingdom), while others may require payment, to be claimed back later (such as Belgium or France).
The EHIC can only be used in the framework of public health care provision. Private health care providers (hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, etc.) can therefore refuse the EHIC.
In which countries can I use the EHIC?
The EHIC is valid in 31 European countries. These include the 27 European Union countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Where can I obtain the EHIC?
Each Member State is responsible for the distribution of the EHIC on its territory. Therefore each Member State has its own distribution procedures. In some cases the card can be ordered online. People should contact their local sickness insurance institution or equivalent for further information
EHIC in circulation 31/12/2007
% population holding an EHIC
1 907 993
8 400 000
45 000 000
source a bit stupid that our SIS card (health card) isn't European at the same moment, this should have made a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork unnecessary, what e-health is all about at its best