A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gets you free or reduced cost healthcare in the European Union (EU). It’ll replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Here’s what you need to know.
A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you access state provided medical treatment while abroad. It’s designed to replace the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) now the UK has left the EU.
Unlike the EHIC, the GHIC only covers you in EU countries, so you won’t be covered in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.
You’ll be able to get necessary state-provided medical care for free, or discounted, while you're travelling outside the UK.
This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, chronic illnesses – for example, dialysis – and routine maternity care, as long as you weren’t going abroad to give birth.
Your GHIC won’t cover private healthcare, so make sure you’re using a state facility.
Yes, a GHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance.
Your GHIC won't cover any private healthcare, or repatriation back to the UK.
As most EU countries don't have free medical care like the NHS, so you might only be able to access private treatment while abroad. And without travel insurance, you'd have to pay for it.
It’s a good idea to buy travel insurance with medical cover before your holiday. This is because it also covers things like your trip being cut short, changed or cancelled, and loss or theft of your belongings.
When taking out travel insurance, make sure you check:
GHIC’s aren’t issued automatically. You need to apply for one through the NHS website – it’s free.
Avoid unofficial sites offering to apply for a GHIC on your behalf. They’ll charge a fee for their service, and might be a bogus company.
The process is easy and you don’t need to pay for any help with it.
Each person that’s travelling will need to have their own GHIC or EHIC.
If you have a valid and in-date EHIC, you can still use it until it expires. Once it runs out, you can apply for a GHIC to replace it.
You don't need to apply for both an EHIC and a GHIC.
There are a few groups that are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, who might need to apply for a new UK EHIC instead of a GHIC.
You can check if you're eligible or apply for a new UK EHIC on the NHS website.