I recently went to France. While there I suffered pain/discomfort and was hospitalized. I was given full checkout - Xray, blood test, blood pressure test and a chat with a doctor. No complaints at all. I was given notes to give to my doctor. Later I received a letter from the hospital asking for a back copy of my European Health Insurance Card.

Before I left for France I took out travel insurance with the airline I was traveling with, plus with my bank. So as far as I understand it I have two lots of insurance. Neither mentioned anything about a European Health Insurance Card.

I am now faced with the possibility of a big bill with little means to pay it, all because I didn't know about the European Health Insurance Card.

What can I do now? Is there some way to get at least partially reimbursed by my health insurance (e.g. the NHS)?

  • 1
    Hi Nick and welcome to Travel.SE. What is your question actually?!
    – Dirty-flow
    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:47
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    What's your question? Did you try to contact your health insurer or your travel insurer about the matter?
    – Relaxed
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:00
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    Wikipedia has all the basics on EHIC cards - you might be confused by having dropped the I (=Insurance) from the acronym
    – Gagravarr
    Sep 24, 2013 at 13:02
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    I (aggressively) edited the question, hoping to make it “re-openable”. The basics of the EHIC, the difference with travel insurance, etc. are covered elsewhere but what about the OP situations? Official websites suggest he could have faxed/emailed for a “Provisional Replacement Certificate” at the time he was admitted to the hospital but it's also too late for that now. Since the EHIC is free, it seems that it's not really a separate insurance but merely a way to establish that you are in fact already covered by your home country health care system…
    – Relaxed
    Sep 25, 2013 at 8:43
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    @Gagravarr We have plenty of “What is the EHIC?” questions and it's easy to find tons of info about that on the web. The point of the question is that in this scenario it's now too late to get an EHIC or even a PRC. In this situation, it's useless to be told “You should have got one before travelling”.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 25, 2013 at 9:46

2 Answers 2


From the EHIC information site concerning France:


  • Reimbursements are claimed in France from the local CPAM office (Caisse Primaire D'Assurance Maladie).
  • You will need to provide the treatment form ("feuille de soins"), copies of receipts and prescriptions, a copy of your European Health Insurance Card, your address of residence and your bank details, including International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (BIC). Confirmation of your refund will be sent to your home address.
  • You can claim back around 70% of the standard treatment cost.
  • If you were unable to submit a claim during your stay in France, contact your national health insurance provider when you return home.

It is not immediately clear whether not having the card issued before the event is going to affect your chances of reimbursement. It stands to reason it should not, as it is simply a document certifying your health insurance status back home, not a separate medical insurance. At any rate, you are advised to contact your national health insurance provider as soon as possible to receive more guidance how to obtain reimbursement. It's not very clear, but from the wording, you will be required to pay the full amount and only after that seek reimbursement.

See also:


The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) formerly known as the E111, can be used to cover any necessary medical treatment due to either an accident or illness within the European Economic Area (EEA). The EHIC entitles the holder to state-provided medical treatment within the country they are visiting and the service provided will be the same as received by a person covered by the country’s ‘insured’ medical scheme.

All British citizens (it is only applicable to British citizens I believe, although I'm sure similar cards exists for other european citizens) are encouraged to carry the EHIC when travelling in the EEA, in additional to travel insurance. (It usually has to be renewed every few years).


In addition whilst it is not compulsory to have, I have heard many stories of Brits travelling to places like Spain on holiday, even though they had travel insurance, because they weren't carrying EHIC they encountered many problems with medical assistance/hospitalization etc.

For British citizens travelling within the EU, the only EU country where you do not need an EHIC card on you at the time of medical assistance and/or hospitalisation is when travelling to Malta. This is because a reciprocal agreement exists between the two countries for the medical treatment of it citizens.

For all other EU countries including Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (if you are British at least) not having a valid EHIC card (even if you have travel insurance) on you at the time of such medical assistance could lead to very BIG problems.

It is also VERY important to note: You certainly CANNOT apply for a EHIC card (wrt being British) and expect to use it after a medical event has occurred in EU countries including Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

More info about EHIC can be found here:

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    I think all citizens of the concerned countries are pushed to get this card when travelling across Europe.
    – Vince
    Sep 25, 2013 at 9:12
  • @Vince In the UK it is widely known by most people, but still perhaps more so commonly referred by its former name of "E111".
    – Simon
    Sep 25, 2013 at 15:36
  • @everyone The other thing which could even happen I suppose is: "What happens if you have a valid in date EHIC card and leave it at home?" I think you have to have it on you at the time of incident OTHERWISE too many complications/problems will arise !
    – Simon
    Sep 25, 2013 at 16:42

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