European Health Insurance Card – changes and important information

The EHIC scheme lets you get medically necessary state-provided healthcare in EEA countries and Switzerland at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free.

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.

EHIC holders should be reassured that they can continue to use the card that they have now, and it will be accepted within the EEA and Switzerland until 31 December 2020.

If you’re in the process of applying for or renewing an EHIC and the card doesn’t arrive before you travel, don’t worry. You’re still covered by the scheme. If you need treatment during your trip, call the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) on +44 (0)191 218 1999 to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). This will give you the same cover as an EHIC until you get home.

Key information:

  • Until 31 December 2020 there will be no changes to the EHIC scheme and EHIC holders can continue using their cards.
  • From 1 February 2020 all EHICs issued will not have the European mark. Both the new and the current design will be accepted for treatment within the EEA and Switzerland.
  • The NHSBSA will hold the personal data of EHIC holders for 4 years after the expiry of their EHIC, instead of the 2 years it is now. This will allow for treatment cost claims made near the end of the card expiry to be processed.
  • If someone doesn’t have their EHIC when they travel, they are still covered by the scheme and can apply for a PRC if they need treatment.
  • The EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. People travelling to EU and non-EU countries on holiday should continue to buy comprehensive travel insurance.

Some people will continue to be entitled to an EHIC after the 31 December 2020 if they fall within the scope of the provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement. Future arrangements for other people travelling to the EU after 31 December 2020 are subject to negotiations with the EU.

Contact Information

Katy Edgar

Senior Media and Campaigns Officer

NHS Business Services Authority

Notes to editors

Latest EHIC information:

 About the NHS Business Services Authority

The NHS Business Services Authority is an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health and Social Care which provides a range of critical central services to NHS organisations, NHS contractors, patients and the public. Its purpose is to be a catalyst for better health and its vision is to be the delivery partner of choice for the NHS. For more information about the NHSBSA, please visit

Contact centre telephone number: +44 (0)191 218 1999

Contact centre opening times: 8am - 6pm UK time Monday to Friday, and 9am - 3pm on Saturdays