The GHIC – What it is and getting one

With Brexit and the new deal signed with the EU in 2021, there are quite a few changes including in the travel sector. Travelling to and from the EU is not the same anymore with the former EHIC card no longer valid for most UK residents.  However, there is no need to be worried as the Uk government has replaced the EHIC with the GHIC.

Difference between the EHIC and the GHIC

There is not too much difference between the two cards. The UK government and the EU signed up for a reciprocal healthcare agreement to facilitate travellers from both locations. The exception is that there is no such agreement between the UK government and the following countries – Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. This is the case both with the EHIC and the GHIC. Although, these nations will join the list of valid countries at a later date. Likewise, the government is also exploring the possibility of having reciprocal healthcare arrangements in place with other non-EU countries also.

Will EHIC cards be valid in 2022?

As long as the expiration date is not over the card is valid for use in the EU. After it expires you can apply for its replacement the GHIC card.

Are EHIC cards still being issued?

The renewal date for the EHIC was December 31, 2020, after which the GHIC began to be issued as a replacement. It is similar to the EHIC and is also free to UK citizens. However, keep in mind that are some countries in Europe where the card will not be accepted.

GHIC Cards

Now UK nationals can apply for their new GHI cards. That can be done online by visiting the website. The GHIC is free to obtain as there are no costs for the GHIC.

What is GHIC? 

The full form of the GHIC is Global Health Insurance Card. While at present it is not global in scope since it is limited to EU countries presently with ongoing talks at the moment to include other countries as well at a later stage. Australia and New Zealand are two such prospective countries that may be included.

Will I require a GHIC card?

While it is not necessary to have a GHIC at present there may be some travel insurance providers that require an individual to have a GHIC. But having a GHIC does have its advantages when travelling in the EU. It offers additional protection when on a trip in case of any unplanned medical emergency. It is free of cost and the application process is simple so there is no reason why you should not apply for your GHIC.

What does the GHIC offer?

Some of the areas covered by the GHIC when visiting EU nations are:

  • Any kind of emergency treatment like a visit to the A&E in case of an accident.
  • Getting treatment for any chronic or pre-existing ailment.
  • Access to routine medical care for pre-existing conditions.
  • Routine maternity check-ups (not giving birth intentionally).
  • Kidney dialysis and oxygen are provided if prior arrangements are made.

In case of any medical emergency, the GHIC will provide state healthcare until back in the UK. Both EHIC and GHIC only offer treatment at state healthcare facilities so it is recommended to make a note of them in the area when you visit any location.

If there is a need for treatment at any private healthcare facility travel insurance will be of help there.

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