How to apply for a free Global Health Insurance Card
The cards grant access to healthcare during temporary stays in the EU
One of the biggest concerns of the post-Brexit era among the everyman is how holidays will be affected. Sadly, we've had to say good bye free data roaming, with more expensive, sovereign data charges. But thankfully, health cover has not been affected in the same way.
You'll remember European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC). They ensured you had access to state-provided healthcare across the European Union on your holidays. The EHIC is now being phased out and replaced by a Global Health Insurance Card. They're basically the same thing, but here is everything you need to know.
According to the NHS website, the GHIC covers 'things like':
- emergency treatment and visits to A&E
- treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition
- routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring
- routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth
- oxygen and kidney dialysis
It is worth noting though that not all state healthcare is free in the EU, meaning you may have to pay for services that you’d get for free on the NHS.
Anyone living permanently in the UK can get a GHIC; it is not dependent on your nationality. When applying for the card, you'll have to supply necessary proof of residence.
Parents will have to apply on behalf of their children below the age of 16.
It is not an alternative to health insurance, so if you're going skiing, it won't cover the costs of a rescue mission. Basically, always make sure you've got your GHIC as well as the appropriate health insurance for your travels.
How To Apply
EHICs are still valid until their expiration date, at which point you'll need to replace it with a GHIC.
If you're only going to use your GHIC for short trips, you can apply online here. If you're a student and going to stay in Europe for an extended period, you will need to apply by post.
Students need to fill out this form and send it to the below address.
Overseas Healthcare Services
NHS Business Services Authority
152 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Be careful not to apply on unofficial websites that charge for an application. GHICs are free and you should always go through the NHS.