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An E111 is a form that entitles you and your family to free or reduced-cost emergency medical treatment in most of Western Europe. Travelling with it can give you extra peace of mind and save on medical insurance bills.

What is covered?

Only state-provided emergency treatment is covered and you receive care on the same terms as nationals of the countries you're visiting. Treatment may not include all the things you would expect to receive free on the NHS.

And what is not?

Emergency dental treatment is often not covered, and you may have to pay for extras such as X-rays. The cost of bringing a person back to the UK, in the event of illness or death, is not covered.

Will I have to pay?

Each country has its own rules. In some, treatment is free or you have to pay part of the cost, in others you have to pay the full cost and then claim a partial or full refund. The booklet accompanying the E111 form gives details about what treatment is available in each of the qualifying countries. Keep it with you when you travel. Follow the rules of each particular country or you may have to pay charges which cannot be refunded.

Which countries are covered by the scheme?

Countries of the European Economic Area (EEA). These are 14 European Union countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden; plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Remember that if you cross from Greece into Turkey, for example, you will not be covered and should take out extra insurance.

Where do I get an E111?

From your local post office. Fill it in, and it will be stamped and signed and returned to you. This is important - if it's not signed by the post office, it is not valid. You need your national insurance number (you can find it on your payslip) or your pension number, to complete the form. Keep it with your passport and always carry it when travelling in the EEA.

Do I have to pay for it?

No, it's free.

Does it expire?

No. There is no time limit for an E111. It remains valid as long as you remain resident in the UK. You will only need to apply for another if you use it to claim for treatment or if you lose it. If you move house, you should get a new E111.

Who is included on the form?

The E111 covers you, your spouse and your children up to the age of 16, or 19 if they are in full-time education. If also covers an unmarried partner if you have children together. When children reach adulthood they should apply for their own form and you should get a new E111 without the children included.

What do I do if I need treatment?
Always keep a photocopy of the form with the original. This is important if you need treatment in the Netherlands, Italy, France Germany or Spain as a photocopy is required as well as your original E111.You will be given back your original but the photocopy will be kept.

How do I claim a refund?

Claim any refunds by applying, either in person or by post, to the relevant authority in the country you are visiting. You must include the original documents. If you leave your claim until you return to the UK, you should apply to:

DSS Benefits Agency,
Pensions and Overseas,
Benefits Directorate (Med),
Tyneview Park,
Whitley Rd,
NE98 12BA,
tel: 0191 218 7547.

They will liaise with the authorities of the other country on your behalf. Send your bills, prescriptions and receipts. If possible keep copies for yourself. Because you are not refunded from the NHS, you may have to wait a long time to receive your refund.Updated January 2000.

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