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


Posted in General Travel Insurance European Health Insurance Card, Global Health Insurance Card, GHIC, EHIC, Brexit, Travel Insurance on 20 July 2021

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) was launched to replace the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), following the UK’s exit from the European Union as a result of Brexit.

EHICs have been all but essential for UK travellers heading to continental Europe since their introduction in 2004, offering travellers access to state funded healthcare in the EU on the same terms as its native residents.

In this article, we take a look at the new GHIC answering common questions for example: how it differs to the EHIC, how you apply for one, and whether your existing EHIC will still be valid.

How is the GHIC different from the EHIC?

The EHIC offered travellers access to state funded healthcare whilst they were abroad for work or leisure purposes. The GHIC will provide travellers the same financial protection and peace of mind, which is great news for those planning a trip to Europe in 2021 and in the near future.

Travellers only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires. EHICs will remain valid until they expire. Once the EHIC has expired you can apply for the new GHIC, here. As with the EHIC, the GHIC is free. It is worth applying at least two weeks before your intended trip to ensure the card arrives on time.

What cover does the GHIC provide?

A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is a free medical card that gives you access to 'necessary healthcare' in EU countries, at the same price as citizens of that country. So, if they get free treatment, you get free treatment.

The NHS website defines necessary healthcare as “healthcare which becomes medically necessary during your stay and you cannot reasonably wait until you’re back in the UK to get it.” Necessary healthcare includes emergency treatment, routine medical care for pre-existing conditions, routine maternity care (unless you're going to a country to give birth) and oxygen and kidney dialysis. It is worth noting, 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.

Not all state healthcare is free in the EU, depending on the country you are visiting, and you may have to pay for treatment that you would usually obtain free on the NHS. An extensive travel insurance policy may cover these costs.

Which countries is the GHIC accepted by?

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 need Travel Insurance if I have a GHIC?

The GHIC should not be considered an alternative or a substitute for an extensive travel insurance policy and does not offer protection against any private medical costs(which may be covered under a travel insurance policy under if no state medical facility is available), it is not valid on cruises and will not offer financial protection for cancellation or other mishaps that can happen whilst travelling for example damage to your baggage, loss of passports and a number of other eventualities.

The GHIC will also not cover repatriation if it is medically necessary to do so. This can run into thousands of pounds alone.

Get Travel Cover with Able2Travel Travel Insurance

Wherever you decide to travel to in 2021 and beyond, it’s important not to forget to buy your travel insurance. Able2Travel Travel Insurance policies include cover for the following:

  • Missed Departure up to £1,000.
  • Personal Baggage up to £3,000.
  • Cancellation or Curtailment up to £5,000.
  • Emergency Medical Expenses up to £10,000,000.
  • And much more…

Able2Travel can also offer protection specifically relating to Covid-19, which covers:

Cancellation / Curtailment – protection is in place should you receive a positive test result within 14 days of departure or if you are admitted to hospital due to testing positive to Coronavirus (Covid-19) after the purchase of your policy.

Emergency Medical Expenses – should you unexpectedly contract Covid-19 symptoms or receive a positive test result whilst on holiday, Able2Travel can help cover your emergency medical expenses so long as the FCDO has not advised against ‘all travel’ or ‘all but essential travel’ to your intended destination.

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 an appropriate travel insurance policy. You can get an Able2Travel Travel Insurance quote by visiting www.Able2Travel.com or by calling our helpful team on 01483 806 826.

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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