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From EHIC to GHIC: Understanding Your Health Insurance for Stress-Free Travel

Understanding Your Health Insurance for Stress-Free Travel

Out of Town Blog
From EHIC to GHIC: Understanding Your Health Insurance for Stress-Free Travel

The Essentials for Stress-Free Travel: Understand Your Health Insurance

Planning your next adventure should be as stress-free as possible, yet many of us may forget a few of the essentials in the build-up. It’s easy to get excited about the fun aspects of your trip such as choosing a destination and planning your itinerary of must-see sights. However, there are also plenty of less-exciting aspects to plan that ensure you’re ready to travel when the big day comes.

One important aspect is the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and this is something you ideally shouldn’t set off without. You may already have one, or even the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which was the previous version. If not, it’s essential to apply early for a new GHIC so that it arrives before you travel. Alongside comprehensive travel insurance for the duration of your trip, the GHIC will ensure you can access medical treatment when you need it most, but don’t worry – below we’ll explain what the GHIC is, how to get one, and why it’s definitely worth having.

Understanding Your Health Insurance for Stress-Free Travel

What is the EHIC and GHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) enabled travellers within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland access to state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay. This meant that it covered medically necessary treatments under the same conditions as it would for local residents for free or at a reduced cost, excluding private healthcare[i].

The GHIC replaced the EHIC post-Brexit for UK residents on 1 January 2021. Whilst the name changed, it maintains similar benefits. The new GHIC allows access to necessary healthcare in the EU if you ever need it whilst away, covering pre-existing conditions and routine maternity care. However, it is not currently valid in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, although the UK government is seeking to “conclude new, comprehensive agreements” for GHIC style coverage[ii].

If you have an EHIC card, it can still be used as long as it is within its expiry date printed on the front. If it is expired, you will need to apply for a GHIC to replace this, ensuring you have continued access to healthcare abroad.

How to Apply for a GHIC

Whether you need to replace your expired EHIC or apply for a GHIC for the first time, it’s straightforward to do. Here’s how you can secure your GHIC for…

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