If you are an EU/EEA national and are travelling or staying temporarily in another state of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you are entitled to receive medical care if you become ill or have an accident.
If you are a student or a seconded worker, or if you are entitled to a social security pension in that state, you will be entitled to health care beyond the immediate treatment.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) replaced the E111 form and a number of other 'E' forms including the E128, making it easier for you to get medical care quickly and easily. It is evidence that you are part of a health insurance scheme administered by another state in the EEA/Switzerland. To obtain healthcare with the Card, you can go to the nearest public system doctor, public hospital, or other public treatment centre and present your Card.
Public health care systems vary from country to country, and few countries pay the full cost of health care for holders of the Card, so there may be some element of co-payment for the services you receive.
Currently, the EEA comprises the 27 member states of the European Union together with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. Your European Health Insurance Card is valid for use throughout any of these countries and in Switzerland.
You can only apply for an European Health Insurance Card from the Irish health authorities if you are:
- Ordinarily resident in Ireland and you are not receiving a Social Insurance payment from another EU State or paying another EU State's Social Insurance, or you are not the dependant of such a person.
- Resident in another EU State and you are receiving an Irish Social Insurance payment or paying Irish Social Insurance, or you are a dependant of such a person.
Like the old E111, the European Health Insurance Card only entitles you to the state-funded health care scheme in the country in which you are staying. It will not cover any of the costs involved in transporting you back to Ireland.
Every individual member of the family or group will require their own card.
Each European Health Insurance Card will be valid throughout the EEA and Switzerland for up to 2 years.
You can get a European Health Insurance Card in Ireland if you are ordinarily resident here.
The European Health Insurance Card will not cover you for health care in any country outside the EEA, with the exception of Switzerland and the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, which will also accept the Card, as they are a French dependency.
You don’t need a European Health Insurance Card to get necessary health care while on a temporary visit to the UK if you are an Irish resident. It is enough to show proof that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland. (In practice, proof that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland means a driving licence, Irish passport or similar document.)