Press Release

European Health Insurance Card

Easier Access to Public Healthcare while Travelling in Europe

Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children today (14 May 04) gave further details of the new European Health Insurance Card.

From June 1 next, a new European Health Insurance Card will entitle Irish residents to healthcare in the public system of another EU/EEA member state or Switzerland, if they become ill or injured during a temporary stay there.

“The Card will replace the forms previously needed to access healthcare in the public system while on a temporary stay in one of these countries, of which the E111 is the most widely-used. Unlike these forms, the Card will be valid for up to two years” Minister Martin said. A public information campaign will be conducted in the coming weeks in order to make people aware of the new card.

However, like the paper forms it replaces, the Card will not give any entitlement where the aim of the journey is to receive healthcare.

“Replacing paper with plastic will make it easier for people to access healthcare should they become ill or injured when on a temporary stay in another member state, for example as a student, worker or holidaymaker,” said Minister Micheál Martin, welcoming the Card. He went on to praise the efforts that have gone into preparing for the Cards introduction. “At the outset, I gave a commitment that Ireland would be among the first group of member states to introduce the Card, and I want to acknowledge the commitment and cooperation of the health boards and the GMS (Payments) Board in achieving this.”

Anyone who is already a holder of a medical card or a Drugs Payment Scheme card may apply online through www.ehic.ie. Application forms can also be downloaded from the website. Alternatively, application forms and information leaflets are available from local health boards. Further information can also be found on Aertel page 657. People intending to travel to another EU/EEA member state or to Switzerland are encouraged to apply for their European Health Insurance Card at least ten working days in advance. Where a Card cannot be issued on time, a Temporary Replacement Certificate may be issued which confers the same entitlement as the Card.