UK residents can now apply for the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
Under Britain’s new agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition.
Current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are valid as long as they are in date and people can continue to use these when travelling to the EU.
The public only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires. Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel.
The new GHIC card is free to obtain from the official GHIC website. People should apply at least 2 weeks before they plan to travel to ensure their card arrives on time.
The GHIC covers medically necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge, until your planned return home.
A temporary stay is a period during which you are staying in a place other than the one where you usually live, and you do not move your ‘centre of interest’ there. For example, this can include holiday, study and business travel.
Necessary healthcare means healthcare that becomes medically necessary during your stay and for which you cannot reasonably wait until you’re back in the UK to get. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition. Some treatments will need to be pre-arranged with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you’re visiting, for example kidney dialysis or chemotherapy.
Necessary healthcare does not include healthcare that you travel specifically to receive, although individuals who want to seek planned treatment in a member state may be covered under the broader healthcare arrangements with the EU.