There are numerous reasons why health insurance is important, starting with the fact that it helps you get medical assistance without having to worry about the bills. Health insurance offers a variety of services and it helps you maintain your health while protecting you from unexpectedly high costs. The European Health Insurance Card is one of the best ways to ensure you will be offered medical assistance while you are in Germany, or any other country of the European Union.

What Is a European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a card that gives you access to state-provided healthcare during your visit in one of the 28 EU countries (including Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). This means that you will be entitled to medical assistance under the same conditions as the residents of that country. However, EHIC cannot be used if you are moving to Germany for a longer period, but only if you’re planning to spend up to 6 months there.

In some countries, people insured in healthcare are not required to pay anything with regards to the medical bills while in other countries residents are required to pay a small fee. Whatever the case is, if you have the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will be entitled to the same benefits and services as the rest of the people insured in that country. This is also the case for people traveling to Germany to spend their holidays.

Keep in mind, however, that the European Health Insurance Card is not the same as travel insurance. You can only use EHIC when it comes to medical matters in Germany and it will not cover costs like flight tickets or lost property. This card does not cover private medical care, so make sure you’re getting treatment in the state-system.

In addition, your EHIC will not cover medical expenses if you travel for the purpose of medical treatment, it is simply a way to receive necessary medical treatment while on your visit to another country.

Note: Since different countries have different health care systems, it might be possible that you will not get the exact same services and benefits as you do at home. However, you will get treated the same way as the insured residents of the country you’re visiting. EHIC is always a good idea!

Which Countries Are Covered?

All countries of the EU, including Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are covered under the European Health Insurance Card. More specifically, the card is valid for use in the following countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus (southern)
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland)
  • Estonia,
  • Finland,
  • France (including Martinique and Guadeloupe)
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • The Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal (including Madeira)
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (including the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

How to Apply for European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card should be obtained by contacting the health insurance provider you’re registered with in your home country. You may also carry your application online, since every country has an official website where residents can fill in their application for their EHIC.

Keep in mind, however, that the application for the card is completely free, meaning the health insurance company doesn’t charge you a fee in order to apply. Always be careful while searching for application forms online since there are scam websites that try to trick you into paying a fee for the application. Do not pay!

It is suggested that you and your family apply together so you will be linked to one another. To make sure you submit your application successfully, it is advised you contact your health insurance provider in your home country and they can guide you through the process securely.

How Do I Use My EHIC in Germany?

Your EHIC entitles you to the same medical services as the citizens enrolled in public healthcare in Germany. However, when you visit a doctor or a dentist in Germany, you should initially make sure they are registered in the public healthcare system.

Here’s what you should know about using your EHIC in Germany:

  • Keep your EHIC with you at all times.
  • Make sure your doctor/dentist is registered with one of the public healthcare systems.
  • You will have to pay €10 for GP (general practitioner) appointments within a quarterly period.
  • Your EHIC does not cover medical services to those travelling to Germany for the purpose of medical treatment.
  • Your EHIC does not cover the travel back home from Germany due to health issues or injury.
  • Your EHIC can cover chronic conditions such as diabetes.
  • You must check with the local hospital, to see if you are entitled to treatment in case you need to use kidney dialysis equipment or an oxygen tank.

What you should also know about using your EHIC in Germany is that it can only be used for a period of time less than 6 months. If you are planning to stay in Germany for longer than 6 months, you should look up private health insurance schemes.

In case you are not sure which private health insurance plan to choose, we suggest you begin with DR-WALTER’s health insurance plans, for top quality products and services.

You also have the possibility of combining both, your free EHIC and private travel insurance, so you get a more thorough coverage while you’re spending your holidays in Germany.

How Much Does an EHIC Cost?

When it comes to the application for the European Health Insurance Card, the health insurance company does not charge you any amount or fee. In addition, once you obtain your EHIC, you will be entitled to medical assistance, in a foreign country, be it emergency or routine care including injury and illness.

The cost of treatment outside your home country can be difficult to bear if you do not have your European Health Insurance Card with you. So make sure that once you obtain your card, you carry it with you anywhere you travel. Saving money has never been easier.

Note, however, that even if healthcare is free in the country you’re visiting, you may be prone to prescription charges. This means the patient should cover these charges initially and then seek reimbursement through their EHIC provider.

How to Renew My European Health Insurance Card?

The European Health Insurance Card has an expiration date. While it usually is valid for 5 years, it is always advised to check with your health insurance provider beforehand.

You can apply for renewal of your European Health Insurance Card online using the official EHIC online application form. After having submitted the application, you will receive your card within 7 days. You are eligible to apply for renewal up to six months before the card expires.

If you want to renew the cards of your family members as well, simply enter the details of every member in the family, even if their cards have not yet reached the “six-months-before-expiry” date. This will ensure that your details will remain linked together. As you apply, you will be notified that only the cards eligible for renewal will be renewed.

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