The NHSCFA estimates that the NHS is vulnerable to £20.8 million worth of fraud loss and error for the misuse of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), in both the application and claims processes.

The EHIC scheme allows EU citizens to obtain free medical care or in some cases at a local rate if they are visiting countries that take part in the scheme. The EHIC scheme covers emergency treatment and certain pre-existing medical conditions.

EHIC fraud occurs when overseas visitors claim for treatments under EHIC when they are not entitled to do so.

The main fraud types in this category are:

  • False Application
  • False Use

Applying for an EHIC card is free, however, certain websites advertise themselves as official handlers of EHIC applications, charging for simply forwarding applications to the NHS without making it clear that this can be done free of charge by individuals.

For a full list of fraud types in this category, please check Overseas patients in the fraud definitions.

To assist you on how to spot the signs of the misuse of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and how to put measures in place to stop this type of fraud please see below.

Think Prevention

  • Has a false identity or false details been used to apply for an EHIC card?
  • Is the individual claiming for treatments or services under EHIC entitled to do so?
  • Are you using the Official Government or NHS website to apply for your EHIC card?

Further information

How to report fraud

Report any suspicions of fraud or attempted fraud to the NHS Counter Fraud Authority online at or through the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line 0800 028 4060 (powered by Crimestoppers). All reports are treated in confidence and you have the option to report anonymously. You can also report to your nominated Local Counter Fraud Specialist if you are an NHS employee or contractor.