A TD HAS warned consumers about an unofficial website, carrying the HSE’s name in its address, which tries to charge holidaymakers up to €20 for a free health insurance card.
The website, hse-ehic.net, is a sponsored result on Google whenever anyone searches for ‘European Health Insurance’ – and Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty says members of the public should be aware that the website will charge them for a service the HSE provides for free.
The EHIC, which replaced the old E111 insurance form in 2006, entitles holders to access free emergency medical care in any other European Union member state.
As a result, it is popular among holidaymakers – particularly during the summer months when people are more likely to travel.
“I have no doubt that many people could be easily conned into stumping up for the EHIC card, when they shouldn’t have to pay anything at all,” Doherty said.
The website’s domain is held by an anonymous customer through a British registrar, and the site itself is hosted on servers based in Germany.
Confusingly, however, the website’s terms and conditions identify the website as being “owned and operated by TAD Services”, based in Hampshire – a company which filed papers to dissolve itself with Britain’s Companies House last year.
While the site’s homepage makes it clear that a free alternative is available through the HSE’s own website, a disclaimer outlining how the site is unrelated to the government is carried only in fine print at the foot of each page.
Medical card holders or drug payment scheme participants can apply for the card online through EHIC.ie. Other members of the public can download a paper-based form from that website which can be sent to a local health office.