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GHIC is the new EHIC

Whatever your opinion on Brexit, there are some things that changed in the world of travel - one of them was the introduction of the GHIC.

You might already own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles you to receive discounted, or free, medical care for countries inside the EU. You can continue to use the EHIC until it expires, and once it does, you can apply for a Global Health Insurance Card - a GHIC - this can be done quickly and easily on the NHS website, up to 6 months before your EHIC expires. Brexit might also have affected your holiday in other ways, so make sure you do your research before departure…

What is a GHIC, and what does it do?

The Global Health Insurance Card replaces the European Health Insurance Card, as of the 31st of January 2020. With this card you are covered for state-provided medical treatment while travelling in most EU countries, available at a reduced cost or sometimes with no cost at all. As well as emergency treatment, you are also entitled to the treatment of pre- existing medical conditions - including kidney dialysis, oxygen use, and even chemotherapy. Some treatments require arranging before you travel, and you can check the Foreign Office country guides for more information.

Bear in mind that each country has its own healthcare system, which might mean they require a contributory sum towards treatment which is usually free in the UK.

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Where am I covered to use the GHIC?

There are 27 countries in the European Union which accept a GHIC:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

There are 3 countries which do not accept the GHIC, and they each have their own approach to healthcare.

  1. Norway - you can use your passport instead to get medically necessary healthcare, and as healthcare in Norway is not free, you will be expected to make a contribution to your treatment.
  2. Iceland/Liechtenstein - you can only receive healthcare in these countries if you have appropriate travel insurance including medical cover, as if you were travelling outside of the European Union.

And although Switzerland is not part of the EU, they accept the GHIC if you are a British national or an EU citizen. As with other countries in the European Union, you are entitled to state-provided and medically necessary healthcare, at a local cost and sometimes for free.

So, how do I get a GHIC?

You can apply for a GHIC here, by simply filling in the form. Please note: a GHIC card is always free - only use the or websites to apply for one.

Your GHIC card should arrive within 10 days of applying for it but do pay attention to any notifications regarding extended delivery times, especially during this busy time of year.

If your card still hasn’t arrived by the time you’re due to go abroad, apply via the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).

Will I need to buy travel insurance if I have a GHIC?

Your GHIC card does not act as a replacement for travel insurance, because it might not cover all your medical costs, and will not provide rescue or repatriation costs. The website advises that those travelling abroad take out appropriate travel insurance, and some travel insurance providers also require that you hold a valid GHIC to assist with medical costs or even waive your policy excess.

If you’re looking for a quality insurance policy, to suit your trip and your needs Get A Quote with Direct Travel today!