Due to a change in European law, from the 1st May 2010 responsibility for issuing the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) will no longer rest only with a person's country of residence.
In practice this means that every country, including the UK, will have to issue the EHIC for all insured persons or pensioners and their dependant’s resident in the UK and in all other member countries, eg a retired Briton receiving a state pension but who lives in Spain would up to now have their EHIC issued by the Spanish authorities. From 1 May 2010 the UK authorities will issue the EHIC.
The European Commission (EC) has as one of its objectives the free movement of people within the European Union (EU). Holders of the EHIC are entitled to necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU/EEA (European Economic Area) country and Switzerland, should they become ill or injured whilst on a temporary stay in that country.