EHIC replacement: what does the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) cover?


The Global Health Insurance Card replaced the old EHIC and could save you thousands of pounds if you need medical attention while traveling on the mainland.

Where can you use the GHIC?

The UK government launched its new Global Health Insurance Card in January, which gives Britons access to vital healthcare abroad.

The GHIC replaces the old European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but is more limited in terms of accuracy where tourists can use it.

For now, it only covers EU countries, as opposed to the EHIC (pre-Brexit), which covered all nations in the “ European Economic Area, ” which included non-member states from the EU such as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Earlier this year, the government said it was working to ensure “new comprehensive agreements on the coordination of social security, including reciprocal health care ”with the countries previously covered by the former EHIC.

Why does a GHIC cover you?

The GHIC offers the same protection to tourists as the EHIC before it.

UK nationals can receive ‘necessary health care’ from state services when visiting an EU country. This means issues where you cannot reasonably wait to return to the UK before seeing a doctor, and covers things like:

  • Emergency treatment and travel to A&E

  • Treatment for long-term or pre-existing conditions

  • Routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that require monitoring

  • Routine maternity care, as long as you are not going to give birth abroad

  • Oxygen and kidney dialysis

You will need to establish that you are not booked with a private health care provider, as these are not covered by the GHIC, while it should be remembered that not all public health care is free in the EU. As a result, you may still have to pay for services that you could normally get for free in the UK.

For example, in Spain dental treatment is not usually available under the public system, so you may need to take a step.

What does the CEAM cover?  (image: Shutterstock)

How to use the GHIC

In practice, you should be able to claim your free or discounted treatment by simply showing your card to the doctor, dentist or consultant providing your treatment.

But like your GHIC blanket only applies in state-run hospitals and clinics (not private clinics), make sure this is the state version you are going to use, and if you ask your representative From touring advice on which doctor or dentist to use, make sure he knows you will be receiving treatment using your GHIC.

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GHIC or travel policy?

First of all, it’s worth pointing out that a GHIC – like the EHIC before it – is not a substitute for travel insurance. If you are going outside the UK you really need to have a proper travel policy in place.

But which is the best to use and when?

There are no hard and fast rules about this, but with the old EHIC, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) recommended that it is best to keep it for relatively routine treatment, for example if you have need antibiotics if you have a toothache or scratch that becomes infected. .

Even if you don’t need to make a claim on your travel insurance for a minor incident like this, it is best to let your insurer know that you have undergone medical treatment abroad.

If you’re unlucky enough to need more serious or emergency medical treatment, the ABI recommends using your travel insurance because policies not only provide medical coverage, but often cover other costs down the road.

This can range from rearranging your flight home to having a family member with you and even taxis and transportation to the hospital for other appointments.

With some travel policies, you will also be able to claim items like the cost of phone calls, which can quickly add up and would of course be excluded if you use your GHIC.

An EHIC will not cover extras such as phone calls (Image: Shutterstock)

Do I need my GHIC to claim?

It is certainly easier if you have your GHIC with you, but it is not essential.

You can instead get a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to prove your entitlement to healthcare, by calling the NHS Business Services Authority’s Overseas Health Services at +44 (0) 191 218 1999, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

When calling, you will need to provide your national insurance number, your name, address, date of birth, the name of the treatment facility and the email address of the specific department of the medical organization providing your treatment.

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Apply for a GHIC

Be sure to request a free card on the GHIC official website.

These medical cards have already been a great source of income for scam merchants, who charge a fee of around £ 9.99 at a time to provide them, which is a real jerk!

As the NHS application process is very straightforward, there is no need to pay for “assistance” of any kind.

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Is my old EHIC still valid?

It is important to keep in mind that existing EHIC cards are still valid as long as they are still up to date, and therefore can be used if you are heading to the EU.

You will only need to apply for a GHIC after the EHIC has expired.


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