The main idea of creating the European Health Insurance Card was to allow people to travel across the EEA without having to worry about health conditions, getting ill, a one-off trip to the hospital or a regular medical check-up. It allows anyone who is covered by the statutory social security scheme to avail the benefits of their health insurance while travelling to other countries covered under the agreement. Furthermore, the process of getting an EHIC card is not difficult and allows people to get one without spending more than a few minutes at a computer.
How has the process of applying for an EHIC been improved?
The process is now a lot simpler since it has been made more convenient. Instead of travelling to the office, at their work hours, usually implying applicants would have to take a break from their job, the online platform allows you to handle the EHIC process whenever convenient. The EHIC should be called out as what it is, a safety net to assist travellers through the social security scheme. It also uses a lot of the information provided at the time of applying to the scheme which reduces the amount of paperwork needed.
The EHIC website allows people to download all the application form needed for the process. Additionally, it provides a list of supporting documents so they would be able to gather them at their convenience. This, in turn, means people would gather all this information whenever they get the chance and apply for the entire process whenever possible.
The process takes between a week to a month to generate a new EHIC card. Depending on the number of people who applied before and after an applicant, they would receive the card sooner or later.
Is the EHIC application process mandatory for people in the UK?
Applying for an EHIC card is not compulsory and some people might choose not to apply for one. Furthermore, some insurance companies might provide cover to their people irrespective of whether they have an EHIC card. Additionally, certain countries are not on the list that is covered as well. It would make sense for an individual to go through the countries that they would have to travel through and accordingly apply for the card.
There are no charges when it comes to applying for the card which is the main reason why most people apply for one. Depending on the process gone through when applying for one, the validity of the card is five years. The EHIC renewal can be handled anytime within 6 months from the expiry date.
Always have some documentation of identification when you are travelling since the EHIC needs one. The main reason for this being that the card doesn’t have a photograph and would be connected to your documentation of identification.
Overall, it is a safety net and not a substitute for insurance which is why people should start applying for both instead of one or the other.