A new card that will enable travellers from the UK to access healthcare across the European Union has now been launched.
European healthcare insurance card for UK travellers has now been launched: The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) was available from Monday and replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) coming as part of the deal the UK made with the EU on Brexit. However if you have a current EHIC card it will remain valid until the date runs out at which point travellers will need to apply for the GHIC.
The Department of Health and Social Care say that both cards offer the same level of protection for travellers while on a temporary stay in the EU. Advising people to apply for GHIC at least two weeks before their due travel date the cards are obtained from http://www.nhs.uk/GHIC and are free of charge. Edward Argar, Health Minister, 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.”
Warning that either card is not a replacement for taking insurance when travelling Rory Boland, travel editor for “Which?” magazine, said “The launch of the Global Health Insurance Card is good news for consumers after we warned holidaymakers in Europe could face eye-watering medical bills if a reciprocal healthcare agreement was not part of a Brexit deal.
We have seen and reported a number of unscrupulous copycat websites charging people to apply for free GHICs, so anyone looking to apply must remain vigilant and only use the official NHS website.
It is important to remember the GHIC covers fewer countries than the EHIC, so travellers should check they can use it before going abroad. We’d also advise holidaymakers to still buy travel insurance as soon as they book a holiday, so they are covered for other issues that may arise such as cancellations and lost luggage
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