The European Health Insurance Card also known as EHIC replaced the E111 form in 2005. It serves the same purpose and gives the holder rights to medical treatment that becomes necessary when temporary visiting a EEA country including Switzerland. As a UK resident you receive the same level of care as that of a citizen of any European country. So if you fall ill or were injured you would be treated as if you were a resident of that country.
With a valid EHIC you are able to receive reduced cost or sometimes free state-provided healthcare only if you are able to show your card at the hospital. It is important to apply for one before you travel. Some insurance companies will waiver your medical excess if you used the EHIC.
The EHIC is free and easy to apply for. You can go online at www.ehic.org.uk/Internet/home.do or call 0845 606 2030. An EHIC will last for up to 5 years and you can renew your card up to 6 months before its expiry date, or at any time after. You will find the expiry date printed on the front of your card.
It is important to note that the EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. Although you will receive health care whilst abroad in Europe, the EHIC does not cover you for repatriation or other expenses. Therefore it is recommended that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance cover along with taking your EHIC with you when you travel to the EU.
If you already have an EHIC and are planning on travelling abroad in the future please remember to check the expiry date and if needs be order a new card in plenty of time.