How to get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
International travelling has become cheaper and more widespread than ever before. In this respect, it’s easy to forget the health risks that may be involved. Few countries offer free, straightforward, access to medical facilities like that provided by our State.
In this area one can find information about the EHIC, the Maltese citizens’ passport to free or reduced-cost emergency care in most other European countries and European Economic Area. This area also contains advice for travellers about planning ahead, staying healthy and getting treatment elsewhere in the world.
To obtain an EHIC follow this information:
Persons issued with a European Health Insurance Card will be eligible to free or reduced-cost emergency medical treatment during temporary visits in EEA countries and Switzerland.
The purpose of the EHIC is to facilitate access to medical care during the holder’s temporary stay in another Member State, and to speed up reimbursement of the costs incurred.
Who is eligible for the Service?
- Persons who are ordinarily residing in Malta and are covered by the national Social Security legislation.
- Full-time students are entitled to the EHIC covering the necessary benefits for healthcare during the period of study. For more information you are asked to send us an email to email@example.com .
Applying for an EHIC
The EHIC is free. A separate application form is needed for each person, with the exception of children under 16.
The application form should reach the Entitlement Unit at least fifteen (15) working days prior to the departure date to allow for processing and postage of the card.
- Apply by clicking here if you have an e-ID.
- Download application by clicking here, fill it up and send on below indicated postal address.
- Collect an application form from the Entitlement Unit or from any Local Council, fill them up and return it to the Head of Entitlement Unit, Ground Floor, Ex-Outpatients Block, St. Luke’s Hospital, G’Mangia Hill, G’Mangia, Malta.
Renewing an EHIC
An EHIC is usually valid for 5 years. You will need to apply for a new one before the expiry date as indicated in the above section. You can apply up to 3 months before the expiry date. In cases where you are applying before the expiry of the card, the valid card has to be submitted with the application for a new card to be issued.
Replacing an EHIC
Lost or stolen EHIC cards will only be replaced upon submission of a new application accompanied with an affidavit or police report.
What are the Citizen’s obligations?
Applicants are obliged to provide correct information and supporting documents requested by the Entitlement Unit. Applications which are incorrectly filled or lacking supporting documentation will not be processed. The EHIC must only be used in public hospitals in cases were immediately necessary care is necessary. The EHIC does NOT cover you if the purpose of your visit is to get medical treatment including visits to seek a second opinion. Persons issued with an EHIC are obliged to inform the Unit of any change in circumstances particularly changes related to the transfer of residence to another member state, death and changes in Social Security coverage.
What will the Department / Unit provide in return?
The Entitlement Unit will issue the EHIC within 5 working days from receipt of application.
Cards are processed on a first come first served basis.
Travelling to other EEA Member States
For temporary visitors from Malta traveling to other EEA Member States
Are you planning to travel to another EU member state as a tourist? Or on a short business trip? Or to study temporarily? Are you being posted there temporarily by a Maltese employer or are you unemployed and going to look for work?
There are arrangements throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland for coordinating the health care systems of the member states. Keep in mind however, that few countries offer straightforward and free access to medical facilities and administrative requirements vary between Member State’s health systems.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is the passport to free or reduced cost medical treatment needed during temporary visits in:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom (including Gibraltar).
The EHICs of every member state have a standard format; they are recognized and understood by all countries, irrespective of in which language they are issued. The purpose of the EHIC is to facilitate access to medical care during the holder’s temporary stay in another Member State, and to speed up reimbursement of the costs incurred. It does not contain any medical information about the holder (e.g. blood group, medical history, etc.)
Am I entitled to the EHIC?
You are eligible to obtain the EHIC if you are an ordinarily resident in Malta and you are:
Covered by the national Social Security legislation.
If you are currently working in Malta, but pay social security contributions in another EEA country, that country will issue you the EHIC.
Note: If you are not an EEA citizen, stateless person or refugee, you can use the EHIC in all the above-mentioned countries except Denmark, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
What treatment is covered?
The EHIC covers any medical treatment that becomes necessary during your stay because of either illness or an accident. This includes emergency treatment, maternity care (provided the reason for your visit is not specifically to give birth), and acute treatment of a chronic disease or pre-existing illness that becomes necessary during your visit.
You must make advance arrangements with the healthcare institution in the country you are visiting before you leave Malta if you will need:
- Renal dialysis (Contact Mater Dei Renal Unit for further information)
- Oxygen therapy (supplies and equipment) on or soon after arrival, particularly if you are going to remote areas.
IMPORTANT: The EHIC does NOT cover you if the purpose of your visit is to get medical treatment including visits to give birth or to seek a second opinion.
You can access any treatment necessary on medical grounds under the state healthcare system of the country you visit. It allows you to be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are visiting. While some countries offer free treatment, others ask the patient to pay a fee or a partial payment. In the latter countries, holders of the EHIC form will also have to pay the relative amount.
How do I use the EHIC?
Keep it in a safe place and always carry it with you, with your passport or ID card. Present these documents to the state healthcare provider (for example doctor, dentist, hospital) when you seek treatment. If you do not present the EHIC, you will have to pay the full costs yourself and may not be able to get a refund afterwards.
What will I have to pay?
You will get treatment on the same financial basis as local residents covered for state healthcare in the EEA country you visit. Each country has its own rules. In some, services are provided free of charge. In others, people have to pay part of the costs themselves when treatment is provided and this charge is non-refundable. Or they may have to pay the full costs first and claim a partial refund afterwards. You may find a list of EEA countries and what you will be entitled for in each country by visiting the www.europa.eu website.
How do I claim a refund?
Keep all your original bills, prescriptions, receipts, medicine boxes and any other documents. Apply to the appropriate authority in the country that treated you while you are there. Otherwise apply through the Entitlement Unit when you return and we will liaise with the foreign authorities on your behalf.
Do I still need private insurance?
The EHIC complements private insurance but is not a substitute for it. It never covers the cost of bringing you back in Malta in the event of serious illness, accident or death. In some countries even with an EHIC you may still be faced with large bills to cover your costs. Private insurance therefore, is still highly recommended.
St Luke’s Hospital
Tel: 2595 2400
Mondays to Fridays
Between 8.00 – 13.00
This information gives general guidance only. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of European Community Law.
Quick Steps to get your EHIC
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This page was last updated on 27 November 2019