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Everything You Need To Know About The Free European Health Insurance Card

Everything You Need To Know About The Free European Health Insurance Card

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Formally known as the E111 card in Ireland, anyone travelling within the EU should apply for a FREE European Health Insurance Card. The card gives access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any EU country including Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and costs as people insured in that country.

If you are an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system if you become ill or injured while on a holiday or during a temporary visit. If you become ill when travelling the card entitles you to go to the nearest public doctor, hospital or treatment centre. You must have your card or certificate present with you. The European Health Insurance Card does not cover treatment in a private setting.

European Health Insurance Card's are valid for up to 4 years and they take approximately 10 working days from the date of your application to receive your European Health Insurance Card. One card is needed for each member of the family.

Upon application, if your card doesn't arrive in time you can get a Temporary Replacement Certificate. This certificate gives you the same entitlements as the card itself for a shorter period of time. You can apply for a Temporary Replacement Certificate at your local Health Office. 
If you are travelling to Great Britain or Northern Ireland you will not need a European Health Insurance Card to get healthcare during a temporary stay. However, proof of Irish residence is required. A driving license and passports are acceptable means of identification. 

For more information or to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card head over to the HSE website
Written by Kellie Kearney staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at