UK residents whose current EHIC expires are eligible to apply for the new GHIC card


UK government launches the new Global Health Insurance Card for its residents. (Credit: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

The UK government has launched the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) for British residents, which gives them the rights to access emergency and medically required healthcare when travelling in the European Union (EU).

The new health insurance card has been introduced as part of the UK / EU deal. It also enables UK residents to get the medically required treatment for pre-existing and chronic conditions as well.

According to the UK Department of Health and Social Care, the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be used as long as it is not expired. British residents can continue to use their EHIC when travelling to EU member states.

People whose current EHIC expires should only apply for the new GHIC, said the department.

UK Minister for Health Edward Argar said: “Our deal with the EU ensures the right for our citizens to access necessary healthcare on their holidays and travels to countries in the EU will continue.

“The GHIC is a key element of the UK’s future relationship with the EU and will provide certainty and security for all UK residents.”

Both the health insurance cards will give equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare requirements when in the EU for a holiday, study, business travel, or any other temporary purpose of stay.

The Department of Health and Social Care advises people to apply at least two weeks prior to their plan to travel to the EU to make sure that their Global Health Insurance Card arrives on time.

A British resident, who may not be travelling without a card can still avail the required healthcare in the EU. For this, the person should get in touch with the NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), which will arrange for payment should he or she needs treatment when abroad.

On the other hand, the UK / EU deal means that EHICs issued in EU member states will continue to be accepted by the UK National Health Service (NHS).