By The Eversure Travel Team,
26 August 2021
When Brexit came into force, the timer started running out on our trusty little EHICs. If you don’t know which cards I’m referring to, they look like this:
The European Health Insurance Cards provide EU-wide healthcare cover to all visiting EU citizens. So for example Germans can access healthcare whilst visiting Spain and Italians can access healthcare whilst in Croatia.
As the UK is no longer in the EU, if you have an EHIC it will expire on the date shown on your card and you won’t be able to renew it unless you’re an EU citizen who has lived in the UK since before 31st December 2020. There are a few other exceptions to this which can be found here.
Instead, you need to apply for a UK GHIC. This stands for Global Health Insurance Card. Now, confusingly it doesn’t mean that you can access healthcare worldwide, it still only applies to the EU but it works in much the same way as the EHIC does and provides free or (in some cases) cheaper healthcare across Europe. It is important to note though, that you can’t use a GHIC or an existing EHIC in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, but you can use a UK passport to access state healthcare in Norway.
Whilst the GHIC won’t affect your car hire excess insurance with us, it’s good to know the ins and outs of the new European healthcare card for UK citizens, so let’s dive in shall we?
How Does the GHIC Work?
If you require medical treatment whilst abroad you simply present your GHIC card before you’re treated – it’s that easy..
For that reason it’s always best to have your GHIC on you at all times whilst you’re travelling throughout Europe so you have it to hand should you need it.
It’s important to note that you can’t use your GHIC at private medical facilities, it will only allow you access to state healthcare.
Some countries may ask you to pay your bill up front and then claim your reimbursement afterwards. If this happens, make sure you keep copies of all receipts and documents that show how, what and when you paid for treatment so you can get this refunded when you return home.
Similarly, some countries may ask you to pay just a portion of the healthcare costs such as prescription costs. This is non-refundable and you won’t be able to claim this money back, so make sure you know exactly how much you’ll be charged before you pay, and that you’re happy and able to pay that amount.
How Do I Get a GHIC?
It’s very easy to get yourself a GHIC simply go to the NHS website and follow the instructions on your new card will be sent out to you soon.
Who Can Apply for a GHIC?
You can apply for a GHIC as long as you are legally living in the UK and do not have healthcare provided to you by an EU country. So many EU nationals who live in the UK will likely still be covered by their own EHIC card.
There are a few other important exceptions to this that you can find on the NHS website
Remember that everyone in your family will require a GHIC, including children. Unlike travel insurance where other family members may be covered by your policy, the GHIC is unique for everyone, so make sure everyone in your family has their own card.
Is it Free?
The GHIC is completely free. If you find a website that tries to charge you then do not proceed. Only use the UK government website to sign up for one, don’t go anywhere else.
How Long Does the GHIC Last?
When you get your new GHIC it will last for 5 years. After this you’ll need to apply for a new one. However, for some people who may need to supply evidence that they are entitled to a GHIC (for example people who need to supply an S1 form or visa) their card will expire when their via or residency forms do.
I’d Like to Know More…
For GHIC enthusiasts, we’ve put together some useful links for you that you should check out if you’re looking for more info: