the The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was first introduced in 2004 with the aim ofAccess to free or discounted health services in all member states of the European Economic Area, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The card allowed patients to seek medical treatment without having to return to their home country, but did not travel for special health care needs.
It covered treatments that are normally covered by statutory health insurance in the country visited and did not replace normal travel health insurance.
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However, due to the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the United Kingdom’s participation in the program has ended.
However, thanks to a trade and cooperation agreement between the EU and the UK, EU citizens can still use their EHIC in the UK.
The EHIC is being replaced in the UK by a new card that offers similar protection and access rights.
What is the Global Health Insurance Card?
The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaces the EHIC and was introduced on January 1, 2021.
Like its predecessor, it enables UK nationals to access healthcare abroad in any EU Member State.
It covers treatments that are considered ‘medically necessary’ by the country you are in and cannot wait to return to the UK.
The NHS states that medically necessary health care includes things like:
- Emergency treatment and visits to A&E
- Treatment of a long-term or previous illness
- Routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need to be monitored
- Regular pregnancy care as long as you do not go abroad to give birth
- Oxygen therapy and kidney dialysis
If your EHIC is still valid, you don’t need to apply for a GHIC until it expires.
Applying for a GHIC is free, but you must meet certain admission requirements.
Can I apply for a GHIC?
To be successful apply for a GHIC, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Be a UK or Irish citizen residing in the UK
- UK resident with valid residence permit
- UK state pension recipient residing in the EU
- A student who is ordinarily resident in the UK but is currently studying or doing an internship in the EU
- Workers ordinarily resident in the UK but temporarily posted abroad by their employer.