In 2021, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was replaced in the UK by the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), though both remain valid. If you are travelling to Europe, a free GHIC or EHIC should be one of the first things you pack. Here is what they cover and how you can get one.
If you are a UK resident both the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover you for medical treatment needed while in the European Union (EU), whether that is because of illness or an accident. The EHIC is also valid in European Economic Area (EEA) countries.
The cover involves:
Access to reduced-cost or free medical care from state healthcare providers
Treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition during your stay
Routine maternity care (as long as your sole reason for visiting the country is not to give birth)
Provision of oxygen, renal dialysis, and routine medical care
The GHIC or EHIC will not cover you if the main purpose of your trip is to receive medical treatment.
The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will also not cover:
The costs of private healthcare that is not part of the state healthcare system
The cost of being brought back to the UK
Going abroad specifically to receive treatment, including giving birth
A GHIC or EHIC is not a substitute for travel insurance, and does not cover you for things like lost or stolen luggage.
No. Your card will still be valid until it expires, but after that you will need a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).
Some UK residents may still be eligible for a UK-issued EHIC. Find out more information on the NHS website.
You will need to provide your:
Date of birth
National Insurance number
You can also apply for a GHIC on behalf of someone else such as your spouse and any children under 16 years, as long as you have all the relevant information.
Always apply through the NHS, and avoid websites that may charge you to apply.
Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.