Am I entitled to an EHIC ?

Anyone who pays social contributions in Belgium and receives reimbursement for their medical costs from their Belgian health insurance fund (e.g. employees, unemployed, self-employed), can apply for an EHIC.

Where can I use my EHIC ?

You can use the EHIC in the 27 other European Union Member States, namely Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Nevertheless, the EHIC cannot not be used in the following overseas territories of the following Member States:

  • France: French Polynesia: the Marquesas Islands (namely Fatu Hiva and Nuku Hiva), the Gambier Islands, Tuamotu (namely Mururoa and Puka Puka), the Austral Islands (namely Rapa Iti and Tubuai), Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, Wallis and Futuna, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the French Southern and Antarctic territories, New Caledonia, Clipperton
  • United Kingdom: the Channel Islands Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, the Southern Sandwich Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Montserrat, Saint Helen, Ascencion and Tristan da Cunha, the Falklands, the Chagos Archipelago, Pitcairn, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • the Netherlands: Aruba, Saba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Sint-Maarten, Sint Eustatius
  • Denmark: the Faroe Islands.

The European regulations do not apply to Northern Cyprus, Turkish sector, which is occupied by Turkey.

You can use your EHIC in countries that are not part of the European Union: 

  • Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein
  • Switzerland
  • North Macedonia
  • Australia. Local formalities in Australia:
    • When on holidays: just show your EHIC to the health care provider and you will receive a Medicare number.
    • For longer stays: register at a Medicare office by presenting your passport and EHIC. You will then receive a Medicare card.

 

Under what circumstances may I use my EHIC ?

You can use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are staying abroad (see the list of countries in "Where can I use my EHIC ?") and need unforeseen medical treatment. The reasons for your stay are irrelevant. You can be abroad for holiday, work, studies etc.

If your goal is to have medical care or give birth abroad, the use of the EHIC is not allowed.

How can I get an EHIC ?

By applying for an EHIC at your health insurance fund (by telephone, by post, by e-mail, or through the website of your health insurance fund).

What should I do if I am going to study in one of the countries listed in "Where can Is use my EHIC" ?

Ask your health insurance fund for an EHIC. With the EHIC you can ask reimbursement in the country where you are studying for necessary care.

Can I apply for an EHIC even if I do not posses an EU nationality ?

Yes, you can apply for a card irrespective of your nationality.

Is the EHIC given per family?

No, the EHIC is an individual document. You will have to apply for an EHIC for every family member (also for the children).

Am I entitled to reimbursements for all medical care abroad?

No, only medical care that is necessary to continue your stay will be reimbursed. If the medical care is not unexpected and necessary, the foreign hospital or health insurance fund might refuse your EHIC and you will have to pay all the expenses.

However there are  some exceptions to this general rule. The EHIC also covers medical care of chronical illness and other existing illness. This is the case for: haemodialysis, oxygen therapy, chemotherapy, special anti-asthmatic treatment, echocardiography for a chronical autoimmune disease, and unexpected and necessary medical care related to pregnancy or childbirth.

If your goal was to have medical care or give birth abroad, the use of the EHIC is not allowed.

If you did not use your EHIC abroad, you can send all your medical bills to your health insurance fund once you have returned to Belgium. The health insurance fund will check if you are entitled to reimbursement for the medical expenses (please read more about this subject in "Reimbursement for healthcare received abroad").

How should I use the EHIC?
  • In case of public hospitals or health care providers
    • In case of a hospitalisation, the EHIC will be shown to the hospital. They should make a copy of the card and return it to you. Thanks to the EHIC, all medical expenses will be billed directly to your health insurance fund, based on the prices that are valid in the country you are staying in. It is possible that you will have to pay a smaller amount yourself: the patient's share.
    • In case of ambulatory care: in certain countries, ambulatory care is free when you show your EHIC. However, in most countries you will have to pay ambulatory care yourself. Afterwards, you can submit the medical bills and your EHIC to a local health insurance fund and apply for a reimbursement.
    • If the treatment is covered by Mediphone Assist, you can contact the assistance centre. Otherwise you can send the medical expenses and proof of payement to your own health insurance fund once you have returned to Belgium.

 

  • In case of private hospitals or health care providers:
    • The EHIC is not accepted in private hospitals or by private health care providers.
    • You can contact the assistance centre Mediphone Assist to ask whether the treatment is covered. Otherwise you can send the medical bills to your own health insurance fund once you have returned to Belgium.
May I travel abroad without an EHIC?

Yes, you may travel abroad without an EHIC.

In case of an urgent hospitalisation or ambulatory care following a winter sports accident, the assistance centre Mediphone Assist is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week (0032 2 778 94 94 - this number is printed on the back of the EHIC) can send all the necessary documents to the foreign hospital within 48 hours, so that the medical expenses will be covered.
In all other cases, you will need to contact your health insurance fund to ask for a replacement certificate (= a paper form that gives you the same rights as an EHIC, but for a shorter period of time).

How long will the EHIC be valid?

The expiry date of the EHIC is printed on the bottom right of the card.

Please note: this means you can use your EHIC for several stays or holidays abroad. We advise you to keep the EHIC as long as it is valid.
What happens if I lose or forget my EHIC?

If you left Belgium without your EHIC, Mediphone Assist or your health insurance fund can send you a replacement certificate (a paper form that gives the same rights as an EHIC, but for a shorter period of time). If you have lost your EHIC, you can apply for a new one at your health insurance fund.

Is the EHIC free?

Yes, the EHIC is free.