If you are a resident of any EU country, one of the most essential items you should carry when travelling is your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
As an EU citizen you are entitled to use the emergency health care services in all EU countries and Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, under the same conditions and costs as a resident while you are there on a temporary visit. However, in order to do this, you must be able to present your European Health Insurance Card.
If you do not have an EHIC you will either be required to use your private travel insurance, or, even worse if you haven’t organised this, you would need to pay for the emergency treatment.
You must apply for your European Health Insurance Card in your home country. It is issued by your National Health Service. Once you have it you should keep it with you at all times when you are travelling. The card is valid for 5 years and can easily be renewed when the expiry date is approaching. Most importantly, the card is completely free to apply for.
You can’t use an EHIC if you are living permanently in another EU country, it should only be used for when you are travelling for less than 60 days. If you permanently relocate to or from Bulgaria, you should register yourself locally and make your contributions to the healthcare system of that country in the same way that a local does. You also cannot use the card with the intention to get treatment in another country, it is to be used only in the case of emergencies. You should also always have travel insurance in addition as the EHIC will not cover additional costs such as flights or lost/stolen property.
If you haven’t got your EHIC yet you should apply now. You can read more here.
The EHIC has also an app that can be downloaded from Itunes, Google Playstore, and Windows Phone Store.
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