This is a form which confirms a traveller’s status as a resident of a Member State of the European Union. Agreements between the EU Member States mean that discounts on the cost of treatment can be obtained at each other’s state medical facilities on a reciprocal basis. It does not cover 100% except in an extreme emergency and it will not cover the cost of repatriation, so it does not replace your travel insurance, but its use will reduce the medical costs incurred. This means we are sometimes able to offer better terms for trips to EU Member States when an EHIC is carried and used. Unlike the E111 which it replaces, every individual travelling will need their own EHIC card, even infants. To obtain one you can get a form from the Post Office, complete it and hand it in or send it to the address on the back of the form. You can also apply online. Apart from the names and addresses of the applicant the only other information needed is a National Health number. An EHIC card will be valid for at least two years after this time a foreign hospital may challenge the validity despite the UK assertion that it is valid for a lifetime as they are concerned about the validity of home address. In most EU Member States, especially in the well established tourist resorts, although the private hospitals may look superior, offering private rooms, matching duvets and curtains, cable TV and visitors accommodation, the medical care is often sub standard. Some countries do not even require staff in privately run clinics to be fully qualified. Insurancewith would always recommend people with pre-existing medical conditions locate the best state hospital in the area they are in. It is worth researching online in advance and adding the telephone numbers into your mobile for emergencies. We especially recommend this if travelling with a child with a pre-existing medical condition as private clinics rarely have paediatric consultants. In some countries, notably Spain and Switzerland, the EHIC is being regularly refused, a situation which the Government is addressing but be prepared to pay in Spain, even in a state hospital. In other countries (Greece, Greek Islands and Cyprus) you may not like the standards of nursing care offered in the state facility as there is a local expectation that the personal care, food, washing etc. would normally be provided by relatives, and your travel insurer will often cover additional private nursing care in the state hospital.