European Health Insurance Card: do you need it for your Erasmus?
Finally, the time has come! Your course is finished, it's summer and you've practically got one foot in your Erasmus destination city already. While you are preparing everything, you may wonder what would happen if you needed to go to the doctor during your stay abroad or if, in the worst case scenario, you require urgent health care. Don't worry too much! That's what the European Health Card is for, and we're going to give you more information about it in this article.
Obviously, it could be that nothing happens to you at all, but it's always a good idea to consider any setbacks that may occur abroad. For this reason, we're going to tell you how to apply for the European Health Insurance Card quickly and easily, so that you can start your adventure stress-free.
This advice is for those of you who are residents in Spain and are planning to go and study abroad for your Erasmus experience, therefore the application process and conditions may be different if you are from a different country. For more information, please check the European Health Insurance Card section on the European Commission website.
How to apply for your European Health Card step by step
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a personal document that entitles you to receive health care during your temporary stay in any country that is a member of the European Economic Area (those of the European Union plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein), and it also covers Switzerland.
These are the countries for which you can apply for the EHIC, so check here first to choose your Erasmus destination!: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland.
To apply for the European Health Insurance Card, you must take into account that only those covered or insured by Social Security can make an application, so if you are a student it will be your mother, father or legal guardian who should apply for it on your behalf. On the other hand, this card has several conditions, which we will tell you about below.
What does the EHIC cover you for?
If you're wondering how much the European Health Card costs, we can assure you that it's free and that it covers many health services you may need during your stay abroad, although you should know that each country has its own rules and regulations when using it. For this reason, the card doesn't guarantee that you will receive free full health care, since sometimes you may have to cover a percentage of the costs yourself, just like any other member of the country in question.
Take a look at the European Commission website to find out how to use your European Health Insurance Card according to your destination country and the service that you need.
Equally, another condition of the card is that you cannot request it if you already have the intention of receiving healthcare abroad. That means that the EHIC wouldn't be valid if you travel to a certain country with the sole objective of receiving a specific medical treatment.
Initial European Health Card Appointment: should you ask for the EHIC online or in person?
Whenever possible, both for convenience and not to overwhelm Social Security services while we have to comply with health and safety measures, you should request the free European Health Insurance Card online.
You may not be able to apply for the card due to personal or work circumstances, or due to the proximity of the departure date to your destination city abroad. In the first case, you must go to your Social Security office to apply, but it is always advisable to organise an EHIC appointment beforehand.
To make an appointment with Social Security, you must do the following:
- Go to the Social Security Electronic Office, click the "Citizens" option on the menu, and then choose "Prior appointments for benefits and other procedures”.
- Click on “Make an appointment for pensions and other benefits (INSS) No certificate”.
- Fill in the form with your personal details.
Remember that even if you do the paperwork straight away, the card will not be given to you at that time, as it will be posted to your home.
How to apply for the European Health Insurance Card?
To apply for or renew the European Health Card online, you have to take the following steps:
- Go to the Social Security Electronic Office, click "Citizens" on the menu bar and then go to "Health Care"
- In this section, you have several options available in order to access the card's application services:
- By Electronic Certificate.
- With your Username and Password.
- With [email protected] access.
- Via SMS (available in "Other Accesses").
- No certificate.
- Choose whichever access method you prefer and select the members for whom you need the European Health Card (both the holder and the beneficiary must be available at the time).
When you opt to go through Electronic Certificate, User and Password and [email protected], you will be redirected to "Your Social Security portal", in which you must then select if you are the applicant, a representative or a guardian, and then access using your electronic ID or [email protected]
If you can't remember your password, you also have the option to gain access via SMS. You only have to enter your ID, date of birth and mobile number to receive an SMS that allows you to access the application form.
Perhaps the fastest and easiest option (although less secure than the rest) may be Without Certificate, since you only have to click on Apply/Renew the European Health Insurance Card and then the form will be opened straight away.
How long does it take for the EHIC to arrive?
If your trip is only a few weeks away and you're worried because you don't know how long it takes for the European Health Insurance Card to arrive, don't worry! Once you request your EHIC, online or in person, it will arrive at your address within a maximum period of 5 days.
If, on the other hand, you have not had time to request it ahead of time and you only have a few days left, there is still an alternative option that we will tell you about in the following section.
Provisional replacement certificate for the European Health Insurance Card
If you're running out of time and your departure date is very close, you can apply for the Provisional Replacement Certificate for the European Health Insurance Card, which is a document that allows you to receive health care just like the EHIC does, with the difference being that it is provisional and covers you for up to a maximum of 90 days abroad. You can request it at your Social Security office in person (the management is the same as for the TS), or you can request it online.
To request the Provisional Replacement Certificate for the European Health Insurance Card online you must follow the following steps:
- Go to Electronic Social Security Office, click the 'Citizens' section of the menu, and then click 'Health Care'.
- Click on "Application for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Provisional Replacement Certificate (CPS) (Your Social Security)".
- Login through Electronic Certificate, Username and Password or [email protected] You will be redirected to the "Your Social Security" portal, in which you must select whether you are the applicant, a representative or a guardian, and then access with your electronic ID or [email protected]
We hope that these instructions will help you when ordering your card and that the only thing you worry about this year is enjoying the incredible experience ahead of you. Happy Erasmus!
If you are not clear about whether or not you should get vaccinated before your trip, in our last post we clarify everything about the COVID-vaccine for Erasmus students.
You still don't have somewhere to stay whilst on Erasmus? We'll help you out!
Here at Erasmusu we can help you find a 10/10 place to stay in your destination city. We are experts in student housing, so on our website you will find a wide variety of accommodation from rooms in shared flats to studios, to university residences. Our agents will help you throughout the whole search and booking process so that the only thing you have to worry about is having an unforgettable experience. Book your accommodation with Erasmusu now!
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