The Department of Health and Social Care (DOHSC) has announced a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) as part of a UK / EU deal which will ensure that the rights of UK residents to access emergency and medically necessary care when travelling in the EU will continue.
The new insurance card will replace the current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) which is currently still valid as long as they are in date, allowing people to use them when travelling to the EU.
The department said that the public only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires, with both cards offering “equivalent protection” for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel.
The new GHIC card is free to obtain from the official GHIC website, with the government urging people to apply at least two weeks before they plan to travel to ensure their card arrives on time.
Cover for emergency and medically necessary healthcare is reportedly part of a wider healthcare agreement struck with the EU that will see continued cooperation on healthcare for UK residents.
If a UK resident is travelling without a card, they are still entitled to necessary healthcare and should contact the NHS Business Services Authority who can arrange for payment should they require treatment when abroad.
Edward Argar, minister for Health, 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.”ewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance.”