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The United Kingdom EHIC means that people living in the UK are able to travel to the European Economic Area (EEA) safe in the knowledge that they will be able to receive free or reduced cost healthcare should they need it.
There are currently 27,570,911 cards in circulation, as of January 2016. The number of cards granted since 2006, providing such cover is:
2014/15 - 5,414,977
2013/14 - 5,571,060
2012/13 - 5,240,608
2011/12 - 6,830,734
2010/11 - 5,703,895
2009/10 - 4,162,170
2008/09 - 4,269,023
2007/08 - 4,160,935
2006/07 - 5,163,121
Source: Business Services Authority
The Department does not hold information on how many people have used their UK EHIC to obtain state provided healthcare in another EEA country in any 12 month period. This is because data on UK EHIC usage is recorded by individual treatment episode rather than the card holder.