What Countries Does the UK Global Health Insurance Card Cover?

Ensuring access to healthcare is paramount for travellers. For UK residents, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is a vital travel companion, offering peace of mind and essential healthcare coverage while journeying across the continent.

In this comprehensive guide, we investigate UK Global Health Insurance Cards, exploring their significance, benefits, and the countries they cover. Whether you’re planning a European getaway, embarking on a backpacking adventure, or working overseas, understanding the scope and utility of the GHIC is essential for safeguarding your health and wellbeing while travelling.

What is the UK Global Health Insurance Card?

The UK Global Health Insurance Card, or GHIC, was launched to replace the existing European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) following Brexit. It allows travellers to access state-provided healthcare and medical treatment across Europe.

Which countries are covered by the UK Global Health Insurance Card?

The GHIC will be accepted by all 27 EU countries. These include:

CroatiaCyprusCzech Republic

The previous EHIC was also accepted in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, but the GHIC is NOT accepted in the first three and only accepted in Switzerland if you are a UK citizen. You can access healthcare in Norway with a UK passport if you’re a UK resident.

What treatment is covered by the UK Global Health Insurance Card?

The GHIC gives you access to healthcare that can be accessed by government-run hospitals and clinics. You will be able to have the same treatment that local residents can also access. This will vary from country to country but will typically include emergency hospitalisation and GP consultations, routine maternity care (as long as you haven’t gone abroad to give birth), and treatment and monitoring for long-term conditions.

In some countries, you may have to pay a small fee to access treatment, which would also apply to local residents. In this case, you can often claim back costs as long as you have travel insurance. You should keep all receipts and paperwork received whilst you get treatment.

Who is eligible for a UK Global Health Insurance Card?

You can apply for a UK GHIC if:

  • You’re ordinarily and legally a resident of the UK
  • You do not have healthcare provided by an EU country or Switzerland

You may also be eligible if:

  • You’re living in the EU or Switzerland with a registered S1 form
  • You’re living in the EU or Switzerland with an A1 document issued by the UK
  • You’re a family member or dependant of an entitled individual already listed

Do I need a UK Global Health Insurance Card?

If you want to be able to access state-provided healthcare when you’re in the EU, you will need a GHIC. If you plan to pay for private healthcare whilst you’re in the EU, you will not need a GHIC, as this type of treatment will not be included.

It is not legally required for you to have a GHIC for your trip to an EU country, but it is advised to ensure you’re covered in the case of a medical emergency.

Do I still need travel insurance if I have a UK Global Health Insurance Card?

Yes, you will still need comprehensive travel insurance even if you have a UK GHIC. This is because the GHIC will not cover you for cancelled and/or delayed flights, lost baggage, or reparation back to the UK. Travel insurance will ensure you’re covered for all of this, and also means you will be able to reclaim any out-of-pocket costs incurred for accessing public healthcare whilst in the EU.

Expatriate Group provides comprehensive travel insurance for all nationalities travelling almost anywhere in the world, including all EU countries. You can get a quote online or view our plans to find the right travel insurance policy for your needs.

How to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card

EHICs can be used until their expiry date, after which individuals will need to apply for a GHIC. The GHIC is free to apply for and will be valid for up to five years.

You can apply for a UK GHIC on the NHS website. You will need your National Insurance number and will also need to provide your full name, address, and date of birth. You can also apply for members of your family at the same website.

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