The European Health Insurance Card entitles Hungarian citizens with Hungarian health insurance coverage (social security coverage) to avail healthcare services in other European Union (EU) member states with the same conditions as with those having a health insurance in other EU member states.
The main criteria to avail foreign healthcare service is if the medical service has indeed medical indication during the stay in the foreign country. Based on this, the owner of the European Health Insurance Card is eligible for medical services in 28 member countries of the EU, as well as in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
How to request a European Health Insurance Card?
The card can be requested at free of charge at government offices and at the National Health Insurance Fund of Hungary (Nemzeti Egészségbiztosítási Alapkezelő, NEAK) by those citizens who have valid Hungarian health insurance coverage.
The European Health Insurance Card can be requested:
- in person or with the help of an authorized person;
- by mail;
- electronically, via the “ügyfélkapu” system.
The following form is necessary for the request:
- European Health Insurance Card request form.
The following documents are necessary for the application (if requested in person):
- identity card(s) for personal identification;
In case of an unclear social security covered legal relationship, certain documents which verify the individual’s eligibility are also needed (e.g., employment certificate, entrepreneur card, pensioner identification card, certificate of student status, declaration of the HR center, certificate from the National Tax and Customs Administration, etc.).
How to use the European Health Insurance Card?
The European Health Insurance Card makes citizens staying abroad transiently eligible for medically indicated healthcare services. Those healthcare services count as medically indicated, which are provided for foreign citizens based on the country’s legal regulations so that the citizen does not have to leave the country in order to seek medical help in their own country.
Medical indication is established by the treating physician. Health insurance-covered services differ among EU member countries; therefore it is possible that the European Health Insurance Card is not accepted for certain types of medical services. Based on the decrees of the European Committee, dialysis, oxygen therapy and pregnancy-care services are considered medically indicated services. If – presumably- you will need any of the abovementioned services, it is advised to contact the foreign health care provider in advance.
Important information about the European Health Insurance Card:
- health care providers have to provide the same medical care to Hungarian citizens as to citizens of their country;
- only health care providers with a contract can accept the European Health Insurance Card;
- Copayment is not covered.
Since healthcare systems differ among EU member countries, it is possible that individuals have to pay for some medical services abroad that are available free of charge in Hungary. In certain countries (in Belgium, France and Luxembourg), the healthcare system works based on a refund-system, which means that one has to pay for the expenses of the medical service and the insurance company will refund them afterwards.
The European Health Insurance Card cannot be used:
- if there is no available public health care in the particular country,
- for private healthcare services,
- if the insured citizen travelled to another EU member country in order to avail medical services there.
The European Health Insurance Card does not substitute the travel insurance; therefore it is advised to get a travel insurance besides requesting a European Health Insurance Card for the following reasons:
- at holiday resorts, often only private medical providers are available;
- in certain countries, there are a broader spectrum of available medical services;
- in case of an accident, transportation to the home country is only covered by the European Health Insurance Card in exceptional circumstances;
- private medical services can also be availed with travel insurance;
- it provides additional services beside the healthcare service coverage (e.g., interpreter, local representative).
In certain member countries, skiing and winter sports do not fall within the scope of social security coverage. In Austria, aside from exceptionally severe cases, the European Health Insurance Card does not cover mountain rescue, helicopter transfer or the expenses of medical services. Therefore, for winter and mountain sports, only the combination of the European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance provide full coverage.
Validity of the European Health Insurance Card
The European Health Insurance Card is valid only until the social security covered healthcare status of the owner is valid with a maximum of 36 months from issuance. If the card’s owner eligibility for social security covered health care services expires (e.g., because of moving to abroad), the card must be returned to the issuer office. If somebody avails social security covered healthcare services without eligibility, they will be charged for the expenses.
What happens if you lose your European Health Insurance Card?
If your card gets lost, stolen or destroyed, it must be reported to the issuer office. At the same time, requesting a new card is possible for administrative charges.
If the government office cannot issue the card immediately a temporary “Supplementing Form For European Health Insurance Card” will be given which one can avail medical services with. The substituting form is valid for 90 days.