EHIC/CEAM Play the right card!

So you’re planning to Dagenham or Dun Laoghaire, Dordrecht or Dortmund. As any medic will tell you, the season of goodwill is also peak time for upset stomachs and ... kitchen accidents. So it could be you’ll need to see a doctor while you’re visiting the country you still think of as “home” and whose passport you carry. No problem, surely. This is Europe and you’re living in the EU so you get treated free. Er – not so, as an enraged Brit we know found out last summer. He was sure his carte vitale would do the trick. Again, not so.

To get medical care on the same terms as a local you need to show a carte européenne d’assurance maladie (CEAM – EHIC in English). You can pick up this at your local CPAM, showing your carte vitale, or you can request it at Click on “Assurés”, then “Vos services en ligne”. There’s a menu – “Vos démarches” – and you’ll need to enter your post code here. You’ll see a list – scroll down to “Demandez une carte européenne d’assurance maladie”. Delivery is promised within 15 days. But you’re off next Tuesday? Well, get round to the CPAM and they’ll give you a provisional certificate.

And, by the way, the government’s health insurance information line in English has a new number 08 11 36 36 46 (local rate from a landline).

From Riviera Reporter Issue 130: Dec 2008/Jan 2009