Nutritional Services Coverage In European Health Insurance: Promoting Wellness – The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows citizens of the EU/EEA and Switzerland to access healthcare when traveling within the EU. What are the procedures for EHIC application and EHIC renewal?
The European Health Insurance Card – or EHIC – is an essential card for European citizens and residents traveling within any member state of the European Union (EU). After applying for EHIC, you can take your EHIC to any public doctor or hospital in an EU member state and receive healthcare for free or at a reduced cost.
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Since 2004, the EHIC has simplified the procedures for Europeans receiving medical assistance while traveling in another Member State by offering health insurance coverage. Your European Health Insurance Card allows you to receive healthcare on the same terms as a local person.
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However, there are some restrictions on what healthcare you can claim using your EHIC. They usually cover non-urgent treatments, for example. Therefore, it is important to understand the conditions of your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before you travel. Make sure you start the EHIC application or EHIC renewal process with sufficient time before you travel. In most cases, the local health provider or insurer in your country of residence is the first point of contact.
This guide explains what you need to know about the EU Health Card, including EHIC conditions, what the European Medical Card covers, the EHIC application process and EHIC renewal.
If you are a European citizen traveling within the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA; the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland, for private or professional reasons, you qualify for a European Health Insurance Card.
If you have an EHIC, you can get medical treatment on the same basis as residents of the country you are visiting. You usually pay up front and can then claim back some or all of the cost. What you pay for, how much you pay and what is reimbursable varies depending on the country’s health care policy. Each family member needs their own European Health Card.
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The EHIC, which is free, is not an alternative to travel insurance. Generally, the EHIC does not cover private health care or flying home after injury or illness. However, in some cases insurers may require you to have an EHIC before they will offer you cover.
Non-EU citizens legally living in an EU state and covered by social security are also covered by EHIC abroad. You should check with the local health authorities in your host country whether they offer a European Health Insurance Card for non-EU citizens.
To receive the card, you must legally live in the EU and pay or be covered by social security. However, you cannot use your EHIC for treatment in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Croats cannot use EHIC in Switzerland.
As the European Health Insurance Card is an important health resource when traveling in the EU, British citizens may wonder what will happen to their European Health Card when the UK leaves the European Union. Although the final outcome is uncertain, in the scenario that the UK remains a member of the EEA, British citizens will be able to keep access to the EHIC scheme.
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If you need to see a doctor, get medical treatment, or have medication prescribed within the EU, EEA or Switzerland, show your EHIC to the staff to be able to claim back costs later. In some countries you can use your European Health Card with private doctors. You will need to check the situation with your EHIC authority and doctor beforehand to make sure.
You should also ask for a receipt or certificate any time you use your European Health Insurance Card. In some countries, government healthcare is completely free and you won’t pay anything. Otherwise, you will usually be asked to pay for the treatment or prescription at that time and you will claim back part or all of the costs afterwards – either while you are still abroad or on your return home – from the health/ social services authority in your home country.
In some countries you will be asked to pay a patient contribution (copayment), which is usually non-refundable. For example, if a health scheme in another country only covers 70% of healthcare costs, you will have to pay 30% out of pocket. Read more about claiming a refund.
Your European Health Insurance Card only covers necessary care or unplanned care – such as breaking a bone, falling out a tooth or contracting a virus – or ongoing care for a serious medical condition, for example diabetes. However, planned treatments are usually not covered, so check with your insurer before any treatment.
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Your European Health Insurance Card does not cover rescue and repatriation, private healthcare (usually) or healthcare costs for planned treatment, where someone decides to go to another Member State to get treatment for a condition. Such treatment will only be covered with the consent of the person’s insurance institution or national social security administration.
The EHIC makes access easier and facilitates faster repayments. It does not store or carry information about personal health status, condition or treatments.
The EHIC does not cover 100% of the costs in all EU countries or the costs of private healthcare. In this case, you can look at private health insurance if you want to cover all risks. There are many major international health insurance companies that offer different coverage packages for expats, including:
Each member state is responsible for distributing the EHIC to its own citizens. In some countries, the European Health Insurance Card comes automatically with the national health card; in others you have to apply for it. To be eligible, you must pay into (employees) or be covered by (dependent family members) the state’s social security system.
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The European Health Insurance Card is typically valid for five years. You can start the EHIC renewal process six months before the expiry date; however, any remaining time will not be added to your new European Health Card.
EHIC card renewal is a typically easy process. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can sometimes handle the EHIC renewal process entirely online if no details have changed, although the EHIC card renewal process varies from country to country. Find the EHIC renewal process in your country and who to contact.
The EHIC card renewal process is completely free. However, be aware of unofficial websites that charge you to download the EHIC renewal form or complete the European Health Insurance Card renewal process. A number of factors are increasing the demand for healthcare—and health insurance—in Asia. This provides growth opportunities for insurers focusing on health in their portfolios. In addition to vertically integrated payer-provider models, insurer options to differentiate and win include:
For implementation, insurers must leverage data insights and define how to successfully deliver personalized health journeys for policyholders, direct targeted health interventions and do so in a holistic, value-oriented manner. They also need to upskill and augment sales force capabilities, including their use of technology. The growth journey for health insurance in Asia is just beginning, but the first steps must be taken soon.
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Asia1 1 In this paper, when we refer to Asia, we exclude Japan and Korea because of their advanced state of development and significantly differentiated healthcare systems.
Notes: 1 In this paper, when referring to Asia, we exclude Japan and Korea due to their advanced state of development and significantly differentiated healthcare systems.
Is increasing rapidly, driven by the convergence of three trends: expanding middle class and aging populations, access to universal health care; and medical innovation that improves survivability and increases the cost of care. As a result, expect healthcare spending in Asia to continue to outpace inflation and GDP. (See Exhibit 1.)
Across much of Asia, the burden of health care financing falls disproportionately on the consumer as out-of-pocket spending. This is due to two factors. First, universal healthcare schemes, now common in much of Asia, provide inadequate coverage. In addition, middle-class consumers are increasingly demanding higher quality care than what government schemes can provide. To address this high spending, consumer demand for health insurance will grow significantly. (See Exhibit 2.)
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Health has long been at the forefront of consumers’ minds and is often the basis for their engagement with insurers, in many cases as the key driver of an initial product purchase. The COVID pandemic has been a catalyst for consumers to focus on their health and wellness, both in terms of practicing healthier behaviors and reviewing the adequacy of their health protection. The pandemic has also caused an increase in consumer acceptance of digital care or telehealth, especially at the beginning of the patient care journey and in the management of chronic diseases. As a result, the digital wave in healthcare is at an inflection point, enabling insurers to engage consumers and policyholders in ways not previously possible and providing an opportunity to radically differentiate from competitors.
Now is the time for the insurance industry to strengthen its focus on health within their portfolios. The question is: What does it take to be successful, compete and win in this space? Before we examine that, let’s first look at the
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