EHIC with a G – the new ​Global Health Insurance Card

Although travel abroad is off for the moment due to the ongoing pandemic, you mightalready be planning your future vacations or business trips and there are some changes onthe way you should be aware of.

Under the EU’s new rules, UK citizens with both EHIC and GHIC cards will be able to usethem to get healthcare treatment abroad for free or at a reduced cost when away from home.

The only thing you have to do is apply online (for free) two weeks before your EHIC cardexpiration date, which you can check at the back of your card.

You’ll need a national insurance number and to be 16 years or older to apply. For youngercitizens, a parent or guardian will need to apply on their behalf.

However, If you are a student planning an exchange in the EU, the online application is notavailable and would have to be sent by post with a letter from the UK university.

Bare in mind that it would take more or less ten days to receive your new card, one theapplication has been received.

“The GHIC is a key element of the UK’s future relationship with the EU and will providecertainty and security for all UK residents.” says Edward Argar, UK Health Minister.

If a UK resident is travelling without a card, they are still entitled to NHS treatment. If theyhave private cover, they should contact the NHS Business Services Authority (Q99) , whichcan arrange payment if they require treatment when abroad.

Don’t be misled by the word “Global”. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, for which you should still get travel insurance.

In general, we suggest to always buy additional insurance for your travels, as neither EHICor GHIC are a replacement for comprehensive travel insurance.

While it does cover emergency treatment, treatment for a pre-existing condition or maternitycare, and could save you thousands of pounds while travelling in the EU, it won’t coverexpenses for treatments in private hospitals or priorly arranged medical treatments such asgiving birth. In two words: it’s an emergency only cover.