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GHIC replaces EHIC, offers less cover for UK travelers – Forbes Advisor UK

UK nationals who need to access medical care when visiting EU countries have two options available to them – for now – following the launch of the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) by the NHS.

The UK introduced the GHIC in January replacing the long-standing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is being phased out as a result of Brexit.

Both cards offer Britons traveling to the EU access to the same state-run medical care that residents of a particular country would be entitled to. This includes emergency treatment, emergency room visits and kidney dialysis.

Neither card offers the same level of coverage as travel insurance who, in the event of an extreme medical emergency, may be called upon to pay for the repatriation of a patient from abroad, or to cover the costs of private hospitals abroad.

The NHS website says: “Make sure you have both a GHIC and a travel insurance policy that includes healthcare in place before you travel.”

Some travel insurance policies explicitly require the traveler to have an EHIC or GHIC so that, if necessary, treatment can be provided at a public hospital under the same conditions as would be offered at a local facility instead. only at a private institution.

Limited coverage

Despite its name, the GHIC only covers EU countries. However, unlike the original EHIC, it does not cover travelers to non-EU countries of Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

According to the NHS, which issues the new cards, EHICs issued in the UK remain valid according to their expiry dates and now offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. When issued, EHICs were valid for five years.

Once an EHIC has expired, it must be replaced by a GHIC. GHICs are free, can be requested in lineand take about fifteen days to arrive.

Each family member needs a separate GHIC. Parents or guardians must apply on behalf of someone under the age of 16.

Students whose training includes a stay at a college or university abroad must now apply by writing for a time-limited GHIC of one course duration.

UK nationals traveling abroad without their card can apply for an interim replacement certificate to prove their right to medically necessary healthcare. This can be obtained by calling Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 (0) 191 218 1999.

The NHS says entitlement to a UK GHIC is not based on nationality. People who are ordinarily resident in the UK but are not insured by an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, are likely to be eligible for a GHIC.

In contrast, those insured by an EU country, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein are unlikely to be considered for a GHIC.