European Health Insurance Card

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) & Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

Ehic Card

What is a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to treatment in state hospitals at the same price as the residents of that country. Since the United Kingdom has withdrawn as a member of the European Union, it had continued to participate provisionally until 31st December 2020 when the Brexit transition period ended. The EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement allowed reciprocal healthcare to continue and replaced with a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The only exception is for countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.

What is a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?

A UK Global Health Insurance Card or GHIC for short, gives you the right to access state provided healthcare during your stay in the European Union. In essence, it is a free medical card entitling you to necessary treatment in state hospitals at the same price as the current residents. This would include healthcare which cannot wait for you to return to the UK such as

  • An emergency medical procedure.
  • Visits to A&E.
  • Treatment for long-term pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Routine medical care for pre-existing medical conditions which require monitoring.
  • Maternity care (providing you are not going abroad to give birth).
  • Oxygen and kidney dialysis.

Does the GHIC differ to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

GHIC and EHIC (previously called the E111) are essentially the same thing, with the only main difference being the name. There is also no need to replace your EHIC with the GHIC as your EHIC will likely still be in date until it expires. Therefore when applying for a new card in most cases you will receive the GHIC.

How do I use my GHIC?

GHICs are very easy to use and should be presented before you have treatment. Most people keep their GHIC in a purse or wallet in case you are rushed to a medical facility in which case they know where to find it when needed.

What happens if I am abroad and do not have my GHIC with me?

In order to prove your entitlement to healthcare or treatment in the European Union, but do not have your GHIC with you, you (or someone else on your behalf) can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC).

To do this you can apply for a PRC by calling the Overseas Healthcare Services at the NHS Business Services Authority on +44 (0)191 218 1999 (Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm). You (or someone calling on your behalf) will also need the following information:

  • National Insurance Number
  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Name of treatment facility
  • Email address for the specific department of the organization providing your treatment.

How does GHIC compare to Travel Insurance?

The short answer is the GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. A GHIC will not cover costs such as private medical healthcare, mountain rescue or being flown back to the UK. It is important you have a GHIC and travel insurance policy in place prior to travelling, particularly if you have pre-existing medical conditions. In addition to this, travel insurance has numerous other benefits such as cancellation, loss, damage or theft of belongings any other unforeseen events.

How can I apply for a GHIC?

You can apply for a GHIC by visiting the NHS website here.

Get an annual multi-trip, single trip or backpackers quote.