If you plan to visit Europe, you’re probably aware that you need to carry a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) with you. This has replaced the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) for most travellers, but if you own a valid EHIC, you only need to replace it once it expires.
WHAT IS THE GHIC?
If you have a medical emergency in the EU, the GHIC lets you access healthcare as if you were a citizen. The card means that the cost of treatment may be lower or even free in some countries. Nevertheless, you may still have to pay for certain services that would be free of charge under the NHS.
UK travellers can apply for the GHIC at no cost, and it can save money if you require medical treatment in the EU. If you’re making a medical claim on your travel insurance, using the card also means you won’t have to pay an excess.
WHAT DOES THE GHIC COVER?
The GHIC covers medically necessary treatment by giving you access to healthcare throughout the EU. This includes treatment that cannot wait until you return to the UK, such as a visit to A&E or complications arising from a pre-existing condition.
However, you won’t be covered if you go abroad to seek treatment.
WHY YOU STILL NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE
Despite providing access to state healthcare, the GHIC doesn’t cover all potential medical expenses. It also doesn’t safeguard against other losses that are usually covered by European travel insurance.
The GHIC won’t cover you for:
- cancelling your trip due to a medical issue before you travel
- the extra costs of travelling home after an accident or illness
- lost or stolen baggage and belongings
- flight delays or missed departures
- any medical treatment needed outside of the EU
All InsureandGo policies come with access to a 24/7 emergency assistance team, who can ensure you get the right treatment while abroad and can speak directly to the medical staff helping you.
HOW TO APPLY FOR A GHIC
There are websites that try to charge you for a GHIC application. However, these should be avoided – the card is free and it’s not possible to fast-track your application. The easiest way to apply for a card is via the NHS website.
As part of the application, you’ll need to provide your:
- full name
- date of birth
- National Insurance or NHS number (England and Wales)
- CHI number (Scotland)
- Health and Care number (Northern Ireland)
You can also check the Gov.uk website for further information about the GHIC and what it offers travellers.