Have you got your EHIC?
The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC is a free card that gives you access to any state provided healthcare needed during a temporary stay or holiday to 27 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland. The UK continues to accept the EHIC for some emergency care but not all planned care for nationals not in the EU 27 or Switzerland. You can find out more information here.
Whilst it is not a replacement for travel insurance, the EHIC will make sure you are entitled to state health care in another country covered by the agreement.
Who should have one?
Anyone who is going on holiday outside of their country of residence, plans to work abroad, crosses borders regularly or is studying abroad.
The card is issued by the National Health Fund or social security provider in your country of residence or nationality (depending on which one you pay your contributions to). If you pay CCSS contributions and are entitled to CNS cover in Luxembourg, you will be entitled to an EHIC from Luxembourg.
The length of validity varies for each country of issue (as does the look of the card). In some countries the card is valid for up to 5 years, but in Luxembourg you might find validity is only for as little as three months and you must apply again for a new card. You can do so here.
Every family member must have their own card (children are not covered by their parents’ cards). In Luxembourg your card should be automatically renewed (but this does not always happen). If you don’t receive it a month before the expiry date, you can contact the CNS directly to renew it.
The card usually has your name, date of birth, your personal ID number (social security number), the ID of your country’s health institution (ie the CNS in Luxembourg), and will have an expiry date.
Medical information such as your blood group or medical history are not contained on the card.
What is covered?
Treatment coverage and costs for each country are different. You can use this link with the drop down menu to see what is covered within each country. In the UK, the EHIC is being replaced by the Global HIC.
Coverage is usually given either to the maximum your own country’s national health provider would reimburse you, or the maximum of the country you are receiving medical treatment in (whichever is the highest). The exception is Switzerland, and you can check details of what is covered here. Coverage is not always free, so check what you might have to pay for in the country you are planning to visit.
Inpatient care that involves at least one overnight stay will require prior authorisation from Luxembourg for that treatment to be covered. You must submit a transfer request by a specialist doctor and you will be issued with an S2 form by the CNS which guarantees coverage for planned care or treatment according to the rates and tariffs in force in that country. Alternatively the CNS will issue a letter of coverage that will tell you what treatment is authorised and that invoices will be reimbursed at Luxembourg tariffs.
If you need outpatient treatment from a doctor, physiotherapist, health care centre, or a clinic of hospital, you do not need prior authorisation from the CNS. You will be expected to pay the cost of treatment in full and to apply for reimbursement from the CNS, which will be given in line with the conditions and tariffs currently given if you had the treatment in Luxembourg.
It’s worth noting that if the treatment you need is highly specialised and requires costly medical infrastructure or equipment, you will need to get authorisation. Since hospital and non-hospital treatment is not clearly categorised by the EU, if in doubt, seek authorisation before treatment.
The EHIC will also cover you for chronic medical treatment if you have an existing condition such as diabetes or asthma, and also for any pregnancy care required.
You can get more information from the CNS on when and how to use your card here.
Does it cover me for all travel and health issues?
No, it is not the same as travel and health insurance. The EHIC will not cover you for:
- Private healthcare
- Flights home if you need to repatriate
- Items you may have stolen or lost on holiday
- Anyone seeking to get regular or planned treatment in a preferred European country (planned operations, dental work).
However you are covered if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, are pregnant or have a chronic condition such as dialysis.
Non-EU nationals living in Europe
If you’re from a non-EU country but legally residing in Luxembourg and you pay social security you are entitled to an EHIC but it won’t be applicable in Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.
Applying for the EHIC in Luxembourg
You can order your card here, which is also your social security card (so you need to input your social security number). Make sure your official address is correct as the card will be sent there in the post. The EHIC part will be valid for a limited period and the expiry date is given on the card. Renewals should take place automatically a few months before the expiry date, but if you don’t receive a new card, you must apply for a renewal at least 3 weeks before the expiry date.
If you are planning a trip or holiday imminently (less than three weeks), you can request a provisional replacement certificate (which is valid from the date of issue for 3 months) via MyGuichet.