Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) Replaces The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Travelling in the EU after 1st January 2021?

On the 1st of January 2021 the UK formally left the European Union (EU) creating various changes for travelling to the EU from this date, including the use of the European Health Insurance card (EHIC) whilst overseas. The UK has announced a new agreement with the EU for a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), this will replace the previous European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

What is the GHIC?

The new GHIC will be free, offering emergency healthcare protection for necessary treatment and pre-existing conditions whilst travelling in the EU, travelling for business or studying abroad.

Will every EU country accept the GHIC?

The GHIC will be covering fewer countries than the previous EHIC, there are currently 4 countries that will not accept the new GHIC; including Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. These countries were previously covered with the EHIC. If you are visiting these countries, make sure you have appropriate travel insurance in place to cover your healthcare and pre-existing conditions. 

When will I need to apply for the GHIC?

You can apply for the new GHIC when your EHIC is due to expire. If you are planning to travel to the EU and your EHIC is due to expire we would advise you apply for a new GHIC at least two weeks before your travel date.

Can I still use EHIC in the EU?

If you are planning to travel to the EU, you can still use the previous EHIC, as long as it is still in date. The previous EHIC will continue to be accepted by the NHS under the new agreement within the EU. You will be able to travel to 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.

How do I apply for a GHIC?

To obtain a new GHIC card you must apply on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/

What happens if I travel to the EU without an EHIC or GHIC?

If you are planning to travel to the EU without either card, as long as you are a UK resident you will be entitled to healthcare by contacting the NHS Business Services Authority.

Will I need Travel Insurance?

The GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. If you are travelling to the EU you are still advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance as healthcare systems will vary in countries within the EU. Some countries don’t always provide the same services free of charge that the NHS provides and you could be asked to pay towards healthcare costs. Having travel insurance in place will give you peace of mind you are covered for any eventuality should you fall ill or have an accident. Travel insurance will also provide extra benefits such as covering the cost for a cancellation of your trip, curtailment, repatriation, lost luggage or money.

Our travel experts are here to help.

Our travel insurance experts will make sure you are suitably protected, spending the time getting to know you and your travel needs so you can be sure you are not over paying for anything you don’t need. Our aim is to give you complete peace of mind during these challenging times.

Contact us in advance of your travel date by contacting your local branch finder https://www.higos.co.uk/contact-us/ where we will be happy to discuss any queries you may have on your travel needs. 

Or view our travel page. Visit https: //www.higos.co.uk/personal/travel/

Full and current details on such changes can also be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance

We will continue to update you as and when things change.

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