European Health Insurance card ( aka form E111)

Dear Readers,

If you are an Irish resident, and intend to travel abroad, I’d recommend you check out if you have a valid EHIC. If you are intending on visiting  Ireland, at the bottom of this post, you can read the benefits of carrying the card with you when visiting Ireland.

What is thet European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card or EHIC (fornerly the E111 form) allows the holder to access health care services when travelling to other EU or EEA countries. Anyone who is living in Ireland or intends to live here for a year can apply for an EHIC from the HSE.

As an Irish resident you are entitled to get healthcare through the public system in countries of the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay there.
Until now, you needed an E form – such as the E111 or the E128 – to get such treatment. Now, these paper forms are being replaced by the European Health Insurance Card. One Card is needed for each individual or member of the family.
The Card was introduced on 1 June 2004. It means that you can get necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU / EEA country or Switzerland, if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country.
Apply for the European Health Insurance Card if you:

  • Plan to go on holiday to another EU / EEA country or Switzerland
  • Regularly visit any of these countries, for example, on business, as a transport worker or for leisure
  • Plan to go to any of these countries to seek work
  • Are being sent by your employer to work in any of these countries temporarily but will continue to pay tax in Ireland
  • Intend to undertake a course of study in any of these countries but still consider yourself as ordinarily resident in Ireland
  • Intend to visit any of these countries for any other type of temporary stay where healthcare in itself is not the aim of the visit

Travelling to Great Britain or Northern Ireland
You don’t need a European Health Insurance Card to get necessary healthcare while on a temporary visit to the UK. It is enough to show proof that you are ordinarily resident in Ireland – in practice, this means a driving licence, passport or similar document.

EU member states
Czech Republic
UK (the Card is not essential for access to necessary healthcare in the UK – proof of residency in Ireland is sufficient)
Other EEA member states


Other states

To apply for one :

To renew one :

If you are VISITING Ireland, what can you expect to receive when you have a medical emergency?

Services available under EU Regulation 1408/71 to holders of the European Health Insurance Card, E111 or equivalent during a temporary stay in Ireland
How do you get treatment from a general practitioner?

  • Contact any general practitioner (GP) who is contracted to the Primary Care Reimbursement Services (PCRS) scheme. More than 2,000 doctors, representing the majority of GPs in Ireland, are contracted to the scheme
  • You can get details of PCRS doctors in your area from the local Health Office. (a list of local Health Offices and the regions they cover is attached, including all contact details)
  • If you are not sure whether the GP is a PCRS doctor, tell him or her that you are seeking treatment under EU regulations
  • General practitioners operate specified hours for surgery visits, and these vary from practice to practice
  • Telephone the GP’s surgery in your area to find out what the surgery hours are.
  • “Out-of-hours” cover is provided at other times; a telephone number for this service is usually provided on the GP’s telephone answering service
  • Treatment is provided free of charge by PCRS doctors to all those who eligible under EU regulations

How do you get treatment by a specialist?

  • If it is the clinical opinion of the GP that you require treatment by a specialist consultant, you will be given a referral letter by the GP
  • Tell the GP that you want to be treated as a public patient
  • Many consultants in Ireland see patients both publicly and privately; if you see the consultant as a private patient, you will not be covered by EU regulations
  • Treatment by consultants is provided free of charge in the public system to those eligible under EU regulations

How do you get treatment by a dentist?

  • Emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain and urgent denture repairs are available to those eligible under EU regulations from a dentist contracted to the Local Health Office. Other necessary dental treatment is provided through local Health Office clinics as well as by contracted dentists.
  • If dental treatment becomes necessary, contact the local local Health Office or health centre to get details of contracted dentists or local Health Office clinics. In emergencies, ascertain that the dentist you choose yourself is contracted to the local Health Office to provide services under the PCRS system, and tell him or her that you are seeking treatment under EU regulations.

Other services
Certain aural or optical services are available free of charge to those eligible under EU regulations. In line with the arrangements for Irish residents, you should contact the local Health Office in the first instance to access such services.

How do you get medicines?

  • Prescription medicines must be dispensed by a GP in the public system (PCRS doctor) who will use a special prescription form to indicate to the pharmacist that the medicine is to be provided free of charge

How do you get hospital treatment?

  • You can go direct to the Accident and Emergency unit of any public hospital if you need treatment of this nature
  • There is no charge for those eligible under EU regulations
  • For scheduled in-patient or out-patient treatment in the public system, you will need to be referred by a GP or specialist consultant contracted to the public system
  • In-patient and outpatient treatment in the public system is provided free of charge to those eligible under EU regulations. Treatment or accommodation as a private or semi-private patient is not covered under EU Regulations.

How do you get transport to a hospital?

  • Call 999 or 112 in case of immediate need of transport by ambulance to the nearest hospital

How do you get reimbursement in Ireland?
Ireland operates a benefit-in-kind healthcare system, so this question does not arise.

Happy traveling!


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