Government launches new post-Brexit healthcare insurance scheme to replace EHIC cards

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) - Credit: PA

A new insurance card enabling UK travellers to access healthcare in the European Union has been launched.

Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) became available on Monday as part of the UK’s post-Brexit deal with the EU.

It replaces European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), which covered EU countries as well as some non-EU countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, as well as some other overseas territories.

The Department of Health and Social Care said both cards offer equivalent protection for “emergency and medically-necessary healthcare needs” when a UK resident is in the EU on a temporary stay.

GHICs are free of charge on the NHS website, and travellers only need to apply for a new card when their EHIC expires. 

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They are advised to apply at least two weeks before their next trip.

Health Minister 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.

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“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.”

People are being warned that an EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for insurance.

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