Saturday 1 October 2016

The 60-second guide to... getting an EU health insurance card

Published 01/05/2016 | 02:30

As a resident of Ireland, you are entitled to get necessary healthcare through the public system in the European Union
As a resident of Ireland, you are entitled to get necessary healthcare through the public system in the European Union

With May Day upon us, many of us are thinking of that summer getaway around the corner. Now is the time to apply for your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you haven't already done so and are travelling to Europe this summer. Doing so could save you a fortune on medical bills should you or a member of your family need hospital treatment while abroad.

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As a resident of Ireland, you are entitled to get necessary healthcare through the public system in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a stay there. However, you must have an EHIC card to access this healthcare. Here's how to get one.

1 Fill out an application form for the EHIC at your local health office. Alternatively, download the form from the Health Service Executive's website (www.hse.ie). Complete it, and post it back to your local health office. You can apply for the card online if you have a medical card or a drug payments scheme card. You can also renew the card online if you already have one but it is out of date.

2 When filling out the form, provide your name, address, date of birth, and Personal Public Service (PPS) number. The same information must also be included for any other family members you are applying for a card for.

3 You may be asked to show evidence of your PPS number, such as a P60 or a Social Services Card. If posting your application, photocopies of these documents should be sent - not the original. You may also need to show proof that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland. That could include proof of property purchase or rental.

4 Apply for your card a month in advance of travel. Should you be travelling sooner than that, you can get a temporary replacement certificate, which gives you the same entitlement as the card, but for a shorter period. If time is short, it's best to call into your local health office and get your certificate there and then. Alternatively, you can apply for the certificate online.

5 You should receive your card within ten working days of applying. There is no charge for the card.

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