What is the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and if I have one, do I still need Travel Insurance?

Posted in General Travel Insurance global health insurance card, ghic, european health insurance card, ehic, travel insurance, brexit on 20 July 2021

What is the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and if I have one, do I still need Travel Insurance?

At the end of 2020, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) was launched to replace the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), following the UK’s Brexit deal and it leaving the EU.

EHICs have been a ‘must have’ for UK travellers heading to Europe since they were introduced, way back in 2004, offering the traveller access to state funded healthcare in the EU on the same terms as its local residents.

We will take a look at the new GHIC in detail, answering some common questions such as how it is different to the EHIC, how you can apply for one, and if your existing EHIC will still be valid.

What is the difference between the EHIC and the GHIC?

The EHIC allowed UK travellers access to state funded healthcare whilst they were abroad in the EU for work or leisure purposes. The new GHIC will provide travellers with the same financial protection and peace of mind as the EHIC, which is great news for those planning a trip to Europe this year and beyond.

UK Travellers only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires and the GHIC is free to obtain here. It is wise to apply at least two weeks before your trip to make sure your new card arrives in time.

What does the GHIC cover?

UK residents can use the GHIC card to get access to state provided emergency and “necessary” healthcare when visiting an EU country at a reduced cost or free of charge.

Necessary healthcare is defined by the NHS website as “healthcare which becomes medically necessary during your stay and you cannot reasonably wait until you’re back in the UK to get it.” Its examples include emergency treatment, visits to A&E, kidney dialysis and treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition.

Routine maternity care is also covered as long as you’re not going abroad solely for the purpose of giving birth. Necessary healthcare does not include healthcare that you travel specifically to receive. If you do require medical care for a pre-existing condition that needs monitoring, this will need to be pre-arranged before-hand with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you intend to visit. This should be done at least 8 weeks prior to travelling.

As mentioned above, not all state healthcare is free in the EU and you may have to pay for services that you would usually obtain free on the NHS. An extensive travel insurance policy may cover these costs.

Which countries accept the GHIC?

Whilst it’s called the Global Health Insurance Card, the GHIC is currently only valid in the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

However, more countries may be added to this list in the future.

Do I still need Travel Insurance?

It’s wise to remember that the GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance and does not offer cover for things like private medical costs (which may be covered by a travel insurance policy if there is no State Hospital or other medical facility is available), it is not valid on cruises and will not offer insurance for cancellation or other mishaps that can happen whilst travelling such as loss or damage of your baggage, loss of passports and many other eventualities.

The GHIC also doesn’t cover repatriation, if it’s medically necessary, which can run into thousands of pounds on its own.

Get Yourself Covered with InsuraTrip Travel Insurance

Whenever you decide to travel, it’s important to remember to buy your travel insurance.

InsuraTrip Travel Insurance policies include cover for the following:

  • COVID cover for Cancellation, Curtailment and Emergency Medical Expenses.
  • Cancellation up to £3,000 including COVID cover if you test positive within 14 days of your intended travel date.
  • Emergency Medical Expenses outside of home area up to £10,000,000
  • Baggage up to £1,500
  • End Supplier Failure up to £1,500
  • Personal Liability up to £2,000,000
  • And much more.

Remember, it is your responsibility to follow any testing and quarantine requirements when you return to the UK whilst the UK Government's travel traffic light system is in place, so make sure you understand the requirements before you travel.

It is also your responsibility to determine the current Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and restrictions imposed on your destination and therefore which travel insurance policy is suitable for your specific needs. Check the FCDO website for the latest travel advice for your destination country.

So, if you are planning on travelling abroad, it’s important to ensure you're protected with a suitable and extensive travel insurance policy. You can get an InsuraTrip Travel Insurance quote by visiting www.Insuratrip.com or by calling our helpful team on 01483 806 909.

If the FCDO advise against 'all travel' or 'all but essential travel' to your trip destination but you still plan to travel against the advice of the FCDO, then you may find that a High Risk Voyager travel insurance policy will be more suitable for your needs. Get a quote here.

This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording here for the latest policy terms, conditions and exclusions.

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