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


Posted in General Travel on 21 July 2021

Following Brexit, the UK has now left the EU. One of the changes this brought is that UK travellers will no longer have access to the European Health Insurance Card. At the end of 2020, the UK and the EU entered into an agreement for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) to replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This article explains what’s changed and what protection you will have moving forwards.

What is the difference between the EHIC and the GHIC?

The EHIC offered UK travellers access to state funded healthcare whilst they were on visiting the EU on holiday or for business, this meant that travellers would receive the same healthcare as a local would enjoy. The GHIC is designed to offer travellers the same l protection and peace of mind, which is great news for those planning a trip to Europe this year and beyond.

Travellers only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires and it is free to obtain here. This means if you have an EHIC which has not expired it can still be used. If you do need to get a GHIC, before you travel, it is wise to apply at least two weeks before your intended trip to ensure the card arrives on time.

What does the GHIC cover?

As with the EHIC, the GHIC entitles travellers to the same treatment at state-run hospitals and GPs in the EU that locals are entitled to. This can include:

  • Treatment for a pre-existing medical condition
  • Routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
  • Emergency treatment and A&E visits
  • Maternity care, as-long as you are not going abroad to give birth

If you do require medical care for a pre-existing condition whilst on holiday such as regular blood testing, blood pressure checks or Kidney Dialysis to name a few ,this will need to be pre-arranged beforehand with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you intend to visit. This should be done at least 8 weeks prior to travelling.

Also, it is worth considering that not all state healthcare is free in the EU and you may have to pay for services that you would get for free on the NHS. An extensive travel insurance policy may cover these costs.

Which countries accept the GHIC?

Whilst it is named 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, the GHIC may become valid in more countries in the future.

Do I still need Travel Insurance?

It is important to note that the GHIC is not an alternative or a substitute for travel insurance and does not offer cover for any private medical costs, it is not valid on cruises and will not offer financial protection for cancellation or other mishaps that can happen whilst travelling such as damage to your baggage, loss of passports and much, much more.

The GHIC will also not cover repatriation, if it is medically necessary, which can easily run into thousands of pounds alone.

Get Covered with Voyager Plus Travel Insurance

Wherever you decide to enjoy a holiday, it’s important not to forget to buy your travel insurance.

Voyager Plus Travel Insurance policies include cover for the following:

  • COVID cover Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Expenses up to £10,000,000
  • Cancellation or Curtailment up to £10,000
  • Baggage up to £3,500
  • Missed Departure / Journey Disruption up to £1,000
  • Personal Liability up to 3,000,000
  • And much more.

Remember, it is your responsibility to adhere to any Government testing and quarantine requirements upon returning to the UK whilst the UK Government's travel traffic light system is in operation, so make sure you understand these 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 a Voyager Plus Travel Insurance quote by visiting www.voyagertravelinsurance.co.uk or by calling our helpful team on 01483 806 680.

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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