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23 May, 2024
 
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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is your passport to health

Seamless healthcare access for European travelers – What you need to know

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The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a valuable resource for European citizens, providing access to essential healthcare services during temporary stays in 27 European Union (EU) countries. This benefit also extends to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, all under the same conditions and often at no additional cost compared to nationals of the host country. EHIC coverage encompasses a wide range of medical needs, including emergencies, urgent cases, chronic or pre-existing illnesses, as well as pregnancy and childbirth.

EHIC eligibility and the scope of "necessary care" are determined on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the urgency of medical conditions and the duration of the person's stay. "Temporary residence" is defined as a period in which an individual resides in a location different from their usual place of residence, without shifting their primary interests to the new place. This includes students, posted workers, and retirees who spend part of the year in an EU member state other than their habitual residence. Detailed regulations can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/BlobServlet?docId=6481&langId=en.

To be eligible for EHIC, individuals must be insured or covered by a state social security scheme in any EU Member State, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom. The card is issued by the national health insurance provider responsible for the applicant's coverage, including health care costs.

However, it's important to clarify that the European Health Insurance Card:

Is not a substitute for travel insurance and does not cover private healthcare expenses. It also does not cover costs such as return air tickets to the country of origin or losses/theft of property.

Does not cover expenses if a person is traveling specifically to receive medical treatment.

Does not guarantee free provision of services, as healthcare systems can vary from one country to another.

Restrictions on EHIC Usage

EHIC usage has certain restrictions:

1. Third-country nationals cannot use their EHIC for medical treatment in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, unless they are refugees residing in an EU Member State or are covered as family members of an EU citizen.

2. EHIC does not include provisions for the holder's rescue and repatriation following serious illnesses or accidents during visits to other EU countries, requiring separate insurance.

3. EHIC exclusively covers healthcare provided by public system providers.

4. EHIC does not apply to planned treatment in another EU country.

For more detailed information about the European Health Insurance Card and its importance, you can visit: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=857&langId=el&intPageId=1304.

Additional insights on the significance of the European Health Insurance Card can be found in EU promotional videos listed here: https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=559&langId=en&videosId=2957&furtherVideos=yes.

The Republic of Cyprus and EHIC

In the Republic of Cyprus, all citizens covered by the General Health System (GHS) are entitled to the European Health Insurance Card. These cards are issued at local Citizen Service Centres and District Offices of the Postal Services Department.

For claims for reimbursement of healthcare costs, beneficiaries should contact their local insurance institution:

Ministry of Health
Hospital Identity Documents Section
Ministry of Health, Department of Health Insurance, Ministry of Social Security, Department of Health Insurance, Ministry of Social Welfare, Cyprus
Tel.: +357 22 605349 | Fax: +357 22 605485
Email: sstratis@moh.gov.cy

Using EHIC Abroad

For more information on using EHIC in countries where it is applicable, please visit https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1021&langId=el. The European Health Insurance Card serves as a testament to the cooperation and support provided to citizens during their temporary stays in foreign countries.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  health  |  insurance

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