New Global Health Insurance Card to replace EHIC

Added 13/01/2021

A new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) has been launched which will replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK residents.

The GHIC works in the same way as the EHIC: You can apply for one to prove your right to access state provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the EU.  

You don’t need to apply for a GHIC straight away, because under our new deal with the EU, your current EHIC, if you have one, will still be valid until the expiry date on the card.

Once your EHIC has expired you can apply for a GHIC.  The GHIC is free of charge and can be obtained via the NHS website:

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

5 things you need to know about a GHIC

  • Beware of unofficial sites which may charge you for applying, GHICs are free of charge.
  • You should also note that the EHIC and the GHIC no longer cover healthcare in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
  • A GHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, because although it proves your right to state provided health care in the country you are visiting, it does not mean that treatment is free of charge, it simply means that you can access it on the same basis as a local.  
  • A GHIC will also not cover the cost of repatriation, getting you home, if illness or injury means you are unable to travel on your pre-booked flight.  You need travel insurance to cover that cost.
  • A GHIC can save you money. If you use an EHIC or GHIC when obtaining medical treatment in the EU, and this results in a reduced cost for your travel insurer, they will often reduce the amount of any excess payment you are required to make.