Freqently Asked Questions
Does the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) look the same in all Member States?
Yes, all Member States use the same design, bearing a European symbol. The aim is to ensure that the EHIC is immediately recognized by health care providers, e.g. doctors or health centres. The EHIC contains a certain amount of obligatory information, presented in a standardized way so that the EHIC can be read whatever the holder's language. This standard design is only on one side of the EHIC. Member States are free to choose their own design for the other side.
Romania will have to design how the Romanian EHIC will look, and what information will be written to it. The Romanian EHIC will have printed on it:
- The insured’s first and last name;
- The numerical personal code;
- The insured’s birth date;
- The cards’ expiry date;
- The code of the International Standard Organization for the card’s issuing state;
- The number of identification and the acronym of the issuing health insurance house;
- The card’s number.
Care covered (by the EHIC)
The type of care covered is 'benefits in kind which become necessary on medical grounds during a stay in the territory of another Member State, taking into account the nature of the benefits and the expected length of the stay;' (Article 22(1)(a) of Regulation 1408/71). This concept has been defined as 'benefits granted with a view to preventing an insured person from being forced to return home and enabling him/her to continue his/her stay under safe medical conditions”' (ACSSMW Decision No 194). This applies to all cardholders, whether pensioners, tourists, etc.
NB: persons who travel in Europe in order to obtain treatment in a country other than that in which they are insured are not covered by the card.
Does the EHIC contain medical information about the holder?
The purpose of the EHIC is to facilitate access to health care during the EHIC holder’s temporary stay in another Member State, and to speed up reimbursement of the costs incurred. The EHIC does not contain any medical information about the holder (e.g. blood group, medical history, etc.).
Who is entitled to a European Health Insurance Card?
Anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security system in any Member States is entitled to hold an EHIC. Since the EHIC covers the EHIC holder only, each member of the insured person’s family needs to have their own card.
Which countries are involved?
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
Starting first of January 2007, after title IX “European Health Insurance Card” of the Law 95/2006 will enter into force, Romania will also join the list above.
When was the European Health Insurance Card introduced?
The EHIC was introduced progressively from 1 June 2004 until 31 December 2005. Since 1 January 2006, it has been issued and is recognised in all the countries listed above. In Romania, the EHIC is planned to be available after accession to the EU.
Where can I get more information and obtain a European Health Insurance Card?
You should always contact the District Health Insurance House to which you are affiliated. It is up to each Member State to decide how to organize the distribution of the European Health Insurance Card on its own territory.
What if I go on holiday in another Member State without any document, what will happen if I need medical treatment?
If the need arises, you will of course receive the treatment necessary to enable you to continue your holiday without having to return home for treatment. However, do not forget that these documents not only facilitate access to medical care on the spot, since they guarantee that you will receive treatment in accordance with the rules of the Member State which you are visiting, but also ensure you get the expenditures reimbursed immediately, or at least very soon after your return home, if you have been required to pay certain medical expenditures up front. You are therefore strongly advised to carry your European health insurance card or equivalent document whenever you travel to any of the Member States of the European Economic Area (European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway) or to Switzerland, whether for private or professional reasons.
During my visit I suddenly realise that I have forgotten or lost my Card. What should I do?
If you have forgotten or lost your European Card, depending of the regulations that will be in place after Romania EU adhesion, you may be able to ask your health insurance institution to fax or e-mail you a provisional replacement certificate. This is equivalent to the EHIC and will give you the same entitlement to health care and reimbursement of the associated expenditures incurred during a temporary stay in another Member State. This course of action will be particularly advised if you should need to be hospitalised.
Can a doctor refuse to treat me if I have forgotten my European Health Insurance Card?
Medical ethics dictate that a doctor cannot refuse to treat you if your state of health necessitates treatment. The fact that you are unable to present your Card should have no bearing on your medical treatment. However, there is no guarantee that your expenditures will be reimbursed under the same conditions as would apply if you had been able to prove your insured status by presenting the European Health Insurance Card or an equivalent document. The doctor or medical establishment might ask you to pay the full expenditures, or to pay up front a proportion of the expenditures which an insured person in that same Member State would not be asked to pay. In an emergency your health insurance institution might be able to help by faxing or e-mailing you a provisional replacement certificate.
My Health Insurance House refuses to issue a European Health Insurance Card to me. What can I do?
You must be insured (with all required taxes paid) to receive an EHIC. Then, the District Health Insurance House is obliged to supply you with one EHIC, or alternatively with a provisional replacement certificate if the EHIC is not immediately available. It must supply you with one or the other of these documents so that you can depart on your travel to the EEA without any concerns.
I am thinking of going to another Member State for medical treatment. Can I use the European Health Insurance Card for this?
No. The European Health Insurance Card covers only medical care “which becomes medically necessary during a stay in the territory of another Member State, taking into account the nature of the benefits and the expected length of the stay”. In other words, you are entitled to all the medical treatment and care that your state of health requires in order for you to be able to continue your stay under safe medical conditions. You should not therefore be obliged to cut short your visit in order to return to your home country for treatment. However, the European Health Insurance Card will not cover you if you have gone to another Member State for the expressed purpose of obtaining medical treatment. If you want to have the expenditures of such treatment covered under the procedures laid down in (EEC) Regulation No 1408/71 concerning the coordination of social security schemes, you must first obtain the agreement of your sickness insurance institution - Form E 112 - (Article 22(2) of Regulation 1408/71)
Do I have free doctor's choice abroad?
You can only make use of the EHIC if you go to a health care provider covered by the health insurance scheme provided for by law in the host State. If you go to a private doctor or establishment, you will not be able to use your European health insurance card.
For more information see the note issued by the administrative commission on social security for migrant workers "Rights and obligations of holders of a European health insurance card or equivalent document following the amending of articles 22(1)(a)(i), 25(1)(a) and 31(1)(a)"