Thursday, December 30, 2010

EHIC - European Health Insurance Card

Firstly, let me be clear that I am not complaining here - just nit-picking!

Like all Europeans, we can easily obtain an EHIC, which helps to ensure getting medical treatment at reasonable cost while travelling in Europe.
At least that is the theory.
Fortunately, we never had to test it yet.

Living within easy reach of Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg & Belgium, and not too far from Italy, Spain, Holland etc, we find it prudent to always have EHICs in our bags.
As they are only valid for one year (I wonder why?) that means getting a new one, for each of us, every year.
That is the first tiny inefficiency in the system.

Getting one is very easy - simply request it on the "Ameli" website & they send it by post, free of charge.
The snag is, you have to lie through your teeth, as the form has compulsory fields for 'Country to visit' & 'Start of visit' & 'End of visit' (why?).
As we are wanting a card to cover all potential & as yet unplanned visits throughout the next year, I am never sure what to say there.
One year, I tried to explain to them, but it just got too complicated, so I resorted to inventing little trips at the beginning of the year.
That brought a series of e-mails, firstly confirming my request, then saying that as the cards would take a couple of weeks to arrive, they were sending us temporary paper cover-notes immediately!
Which they did.
Second tiny inefficiency.

So this year, I carefully invented my little trip to start in 3 weeks so as to leave them plenty of time.
But I still got the e-mails & the paper cover-notes.

This system is providing all we need, and we are grateful for it, but just wish we could save Ameli a little time, effort & money by getting cards with longer validity, or with (automatic?) annual renewal, or at any rate without the extra cover-notes.
And without having to tell fibs!
Presumably thousands of others are in the same situation?

Of course, there are far worse problems to solve first, so I won't get hung-up on this one.

Parting thot: "The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away." - John S. Coleman

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