European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth.

The EHIC is valid in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland.The EHIC card is entirely free of charge. However, some unofficial websites may charge you if you apply through them. Further information can be found on the website.

NHS Choices - Learn about the EHIC


To apply for an EHIC visit the offical governement website to apply for your card.


The EHIC is valid for up to five years. Check that your EHIC is still valid before you travel. Renewing your card is also free. You can renew an EHIC up to six months before the expiry date. However, any time left on the card will not be added to your new card.

If you are planning to travel outside Germany, each member of your family needs their own EHIC card when travelling abroad. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It is important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy in place before you travel.

It entitles card holders to treatment within the state health systems of the European Union (EU) and a few other countries. But it is no substitute for travel insurance. Some countries still make you pay some costs and it does not cover private treatment (sometimes the only viable option), repatiation back to Germany or mountain rescue on winter sport holidays (ouside of Germany).

It includes treatment of chronic or pre-existing medical condition that may become necessary during you visit and for routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth.


BFG personnel's health care is covered whilst you are in Germany, but should you travel outside Germany, eg. to France or the Netherlands, please take your EHIC cards with you. In an emergency you can dial the European emergency number 112 from any telepone or mobile phone for a local ambulance. Don't forget, if you are taken to a non-Designated German Provided hospital with Germany, which is a hospitalk in Germany without a contract with the BFG Health Service, call the 24/7 Hospital hotline on 088 588 99 36 who will help with translation and liaison with your family and unit.