How do I renew my E111?

The first thing to note is that E111s don’t automatically renew, so you have to take steps to make sure you’ve started the renewal process before it runs out, especially if you’re thinking about travelling soon. E111 is valid for five years from the date of issue and the expiry date will be printed on the card.

If your E111 is within 6 months of expiry then you can renew it right away, you don’t have to wait until it’s expired. Any remaining entitlement will be added onto the five year validity of the new card. If you’ve applied for your E111 online, you can then log back into the website where you originally applied for your card and ask for it to be renewed. If you can’t remember where you applied, or have forgotten the details, you can also phone the NHS Overseas Healthcare team’s helpline and ask for a new card to be sent out for you.


How do I change my name on my E111?

There are lots of reasons why you might need to change your name on official documents, the most common ones being getting married or divorced. If your name on your E111 doesn’t match your name on your passport or other documents then it could cause issues if you need to access treatment overseas.

Luckily, changing your name on your E111 is a straightforward process. If you applied for your E111 online, log back into the same website and see whether there is an option to update your details. Follow the link, give your new name or address, and then request another card be sent out. If you didn’t apply online, then contact the NHS helpline and ask how to proceed. Once your new E111 arrives in the post you can destroy the old one. Make sure you take your E111 with you when you travel overseas as you won’t be treated without it.


How do I get a family E111 card?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a family E111 card. The way the system has been structured requires everyone to have their own card. Parents won’t be able to get treatment for their children using their card and hospitals overseas are within their rights to refuse to treat people on the state system if they don’t have the right documents.

E111 can be very useful when you’re travelling with kids, as it covers everything from childhood illnesses through to more serious accidents. In order to access care for all members of the family, one of the adults can apply for their own card, along with cards for any children they are responsible for. As children don’t have National Insurance numbers, parents will complete their own details on that part of the form. When seeking medical care overseas for your children, take their E111 and passport to the local state healthcare provider.


Is there any medical treatment not covered by my E111?

One of the great things about E111 is that it covers a lot of things that your typical travel insurance policy doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean that there are no exclusions at all.

Maternity – E111 will cover you if you unexpectedly go into labour while you’re on business or holiday and will allow you to give birth and be looked after in a state hospital. E111 doesn’t cover the costs of giving birth when the only reason you have travelled is to give birth in a certain city or country.

Private and Cosmetic Treatments – E111 only ever covers state healthcare provision. E111 won’t meet the costs of being treated in a private hospital, or in a private room in a state hospital. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re offered fast track treatment of the opportunity to jump the queue for a routine operation.


Will E111 refund any charges I have to pay?

No, British travellers who are treated overseas under the E111 scheme are not able to claim back any of the charges which they might incur. E111 is designed to give us the same rights as the local people in whichever country we are being treated to access state healthcare. In many countries across Europe, locals are asked to pay to see their GP, pay an overnight “board and lodging” sum to cover meals when admitted to hospital, or even asked to get family members to supply bed linen and towels. If any of these rules apply to them, they’ll apply to you too. It’s important to be clear about why you’re being asked to pay though, so don’t be afraid to ask someone to explain the system, and give you an invoice breaking down any charges. Always get a receipt for any payments you make.


Will E111 cover my pre-existing condition?

Yes, E111 differs from many travel insurance policies in that you will be covered for medical conditions which you knew about before leaving home. Pre-existing medical conditions could be anything from a known allergy to a certain substance to something much more serious and life threatening like cancer. Take advice from your GP or specialist before committing to any travel, and do some homework on which hospitals and facilities there are close by to assist you in an emergency.

There are a few exclusions to the pre-existing medical cover. E111 won’t cover trips when the only reason for travelling is to seek treatment for your illness. This is to stop people picking and choosing where in Europe they are treated depending on which hospitals are seen as centres of excellence. Also remember that standards of care in many countries are not up to NHS standards, especially in Eastern Europe.


How do I get an E111 card for my child?

Everyone needs their own separate E111 card, even the smallest children. If you don’t have E111 cover for the family already, often the first time this issue arises is when a teenager is heading off overseas on a school trip, or camping with Scouts or Guides.

Young people under the age of 16 can’t apply for E111 cards by themselves, so a parent or other adult who has legal responsibility will have to do it for them. Parents will need to give their own details such as National Insurance number, then complete the separate fields to apply for E111 for their children. When the cards arrive in the post, you need to make sure the child packs their card to take with them on their trip as they will need to present it along with their passport if they need to access state treatment overseas.


Are prescription charges covered by E111?

There’s no straightforward answer to this one. Every state healthcare system across Europe is different. Many do have groups of people who are exempt from paying prescription charges, most commonly children. Others instead of exempting groups of people exempt illnesses instead, not charging for medication which is for a lifelong condition, but charging fees for other types of medication. Other systems have charges for every prescription, irrespective of what it’s for.

If you’re not sure about what you’re being charged, ask the pharmacist. Most pharmacies, especially in the main tourist areas, will have staff who can speak some English. They will be able to advise of costs before dispensing your items, and may be able to give advice about cheaper alternatives. If you are asked to pay towards a prescription always ask for a copy of the paperwork and get receipt for any payments you make.


What is E111?

E111 is a system for healthcare across Europe which was replaced by E111 in 2004. If you’ve still got an old E111 form kicking around in the house, it’s most definitely time to consign it to the rubbish bin.

E111 has several advantages over the old E111. E111 was a piece of paper which covered all members of the family on one form. Fine when everyone was travelling together, not so useful when a parent was away on business at the same time as another member of the family wanted to take the E111 on holiday. E111 offers each person a separate card, which is far more sensible.

E111 also has a broader coverage than the old E111, as in the time since the E111 was introduced the European Economic Area has grown considerably since countries like Latvia and Bulgaria became part of the system. E111 will continue to expand as new countries join the EU.


How do I use my E111?

Getting your E111 through the post is just the beginning of the process. If you need to seek medical attention overseas, the first thing to establish is that you’re going to a state hospital or doctor as E111 can’t be used in the private sector. If you’re asking other people to make arrangements for you to get to hospital or see a doctor, make sure they’re aware that you have E111 and want to be treated under that system.

You’ll need to have your card with you to get care overseas, and show it to medical staff at the front desk along with your passport. They may well want to take copies of your documents. If you’re transferred elsewhere for tests or further treatment, show them your E111 too. If you run into any difficulties having your E111 accepted, call the NHS helpline who can advise on the specifics of your situation.