Story time, back to August 2022 when I had to use the European Health Insurance Card for the first time.
I landed in Madrid after my trip to Miami and went straight to the Marriott Madrid Auditorium Hotel (which I love). Three days later I was 40°C and felt awful. After spending the night with shivers and coughing. I suspected it was not COVID, as I had it a few weeks before, but I wanted to be 100% sure.
I didn’t want to go to a doctor, but after the fourth night with fever and symptoms that didn’t improve, I decided to call a doctor to come to the hospital. At the front desk, they told me that the best option was to have a quick trip to ER at Hospital Universitario Gregorio Marañón, so I did.
As usual, I always carry my European Health Insurance card from Försäkringskassan, but I had never used it! I went straight into Urgencias (ER), and at the reception desk handed out my passport and EU kort (EHIC). The girl explained that not all the hospitals take that card, but most of them.
She handed out a form where I had to fill out my personal information, including full name, passport number, address in my home country, address where I was staying (hotel), phone number, and financing country. After filling out the form, she registered me into their system and handed out to me a bracelet along with a bunch of papers and pre-printed stickers in case they need to run blood tests.
The girl also explained that at this hospital, there’s no fees involved when using the European Health Insurance Card, but I should be aware that other practitioners or health centres might charge a small processing fee (that I could claim back in my home country).
After I was checked-in, I was admitted into the classification room, which is a waiting room that leads into classification boxes where a doctor or nurse examines your symptoms first, before letting you in to a second waiting room that will lead to a doctor later. They have this system so that they can be more efficient dispatching patients to doctors depending on their symptoms.
I waited for about 10 minutes and I was called. Then they examined me for 5 minutes and told me to wait in another room for a doctor to call me. After another 20 minutes, I was called by another doctor that took care of me. They ran blood tests and after about 30 more minutes, I was diagnosed with another type of virus (not covid) and given some painkillers and immune system boosters. They ruled out bacteria and other causes.
The whole process took about one and a half hour. I was feeling terrible and wanted to go back to the hotel ASAP, but at the same time I felt it very smooth and efficient (compared to my experiences in other countries). Luckily, after a few days, I started to get better and recover.
I wanted to share this quick story for two reasons:
- To share how to use the European Health Insurance Card, which I never tried out before (hope you never have to use it)
- To remind how important it is to have this card with you, physically. There’s no way to use it digitally (yet), and you must get a new one every two years or so. If you haven’t applied yet, check this post with the instructions.
Thanks for reading and as usual, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram!
How to use The European Health Insurance Card in Europe? (Summary)
- While abroad, go to a hospital or healthcare provider that accepts the EHIC card. You can check a list here.
- At the reception, hand out your Passport and European Health Insurance card (EHIC).
- Fill out your personal information including full name, passport number, address in your home country, address where you are staying while abroad, phone number, and EU country that is financing the healthcare cost.
- Pay any extra fees (if any). Most often there are no fees involved, but from time to time you might need to pay a small amount (€5-€15) to get either the consultation or medicines. You can get this money back once you return to your home country.
- Done. You are ready to get your appointment. Make sure you get printed receipts and summaries of your consultation or treatment.