UK launches Global Health Insurance Card

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New agreement ensures the rights of UK residents to access emergency and medically necessary care when travelling in the EU will continue.

UK’s new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) launched as part of UK / EU deal. 

Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will gradually replace existing European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC). 

UK residents will now be able to apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), the government announced today.

Under Britain’s new agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. This includes medically necessary treatment for a pre-existing or chronic condition.

Current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are valid as long as they are in date and people can continue to use these when travelling to the EU.

The public only need to apply for their new GHIC when their current EHIC expires. Both cards will offer 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. People should apply at least 2 weeks before they plan to travel to ensure their card arrives on time.

Minister for Health Edward Argar 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.

"Cover for emergency and medically necessary healthcare is 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 (NHS BSA) (which covers the whole of the UK), who can arrange for payment should they require treatment when abroad.

EU member state EHICs will continue to be accepted by the NHS.

Alongside the deal with the EU, the UK is open to agreeing further reciprocal healthcare arrangements that can support UK residents when they travel.

The government always advises that anyone travelling overseas, whether to the EU or elsewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance. 

All UK residents are eligible to apply for a GHIC which will be valid and recognised in the EU.

GHIC is free via the official website. Any sites which include a charging fee are in no way affiliated with the official NHSBSA GHIC service.

The GHIC covers medically necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge, until your planned return home.

A temporary stay is a period during which you are staying in a place other than the one where you usually live and you do not move your ‘centre of interest’ there. For example, this can include holiday, study and business travel.

The rest-of-the-world (RoW) countries that the UK currently has reciprocal healthcare agreements with are: Australia, New Zealand, some Crown Dependencies and overseas territories (such as Isle of Mann, Jersey, Gibraltar), and some Balkan states (Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo). 

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Little Ireland | Cleator Moor | Cumbria: UK launches Global Health Insurance Card
UK launches Global Health Insurance Card
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