Are you able to use your GHIC (Previously know as EHIC) when you are traveling to France? What should you do if you need medical treatment in France? Public healthcare is different depending on the country you are in. It means that you may have to pay a contribution in some countries. Here is what you need to know before visiting France.
Visitors to France
In case of an emergency, you may want to visit the accident and emergency (A&E) called “Les Urgences” in French. If you want to contact an ambulance, please dial 112, or 114 for hearing assisted. Calling A&E in France is free of charge from any fixed or mobile phone. Please remain calm and give the maximum amount of details this way the emergency services will be able to act quickly. You will need to be very precise about where you are, who you are, what happened, how many people require medical assistance, and if there were weapons involved or not.
Usually, most emergency services speak English but there is no guarantee, so we recommend you to seek assistance from a local for translation. In France, a Doctor will have to confirm whether or not you need an ambulance, otherwise, you may be charged for it.
Here are some important numbers to keep while you are traveling to France:
- 15: SAMU provides ambulances and medical teams.
- 18: Fire brigade. You can call the fire brigade if you notice a fire, or witness a road accident.
- 17: Police.
Healthcare in France until the UK leaves the EU
If you need medical assistance in France, you will receive it in any hospital. However, you may have to pay if you do not have a valid GHIC. If you have a valid GHIC, you will benefit of reduced cost of free treatments as a local resident of France would.
As the United Kingdom is still part of Europe, there is a deal in place between the United Kingdom and Europe to ensure optimal cover of every resident with a valid Global Health Insurance Card. If you are asked to pay the full treatments you have received, it is very likely that you have been treated in a private hospital. Your GHIC does not cover medical treatments received in private hospitals, nor air ambulance, cruises, or being flown back to the UK. To know more about what is covered and not covered, please check our guide here >
However, a private travel insurance policy will cover you when your Global Health Insurance Card does not. Therefore we really encourage you to travel with both. To know more about private travel insurance, please read our guide here >
If you would like to compare the prices of private travel insurances, you can use comparison websites such as this one or this one >
Visiting a dentist in France
If you need to visit a dentist while you are in France, including Martinique and Guadeloupe, you will be asked to pay for the whole treatment. The dentist will then issue a treatment certificate and you will be able to claim back around 70% of the treatment cost.
Obtaining your medicines
After visiting a hospital or Doctor in France, you will be given a treatment certificate. With this certificate, you can collect your medicines from any pharmacy. Once again, you will need to pay for your medicines but you will be able to claim your money back. Some medicines are fully reimbursable, some are not.
Will my GHIC work in France after the UK leaves the EU?
Things are very likely to change after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. The United Kingdom is currently looking for deals with the European Union, or with different countries independently. We will keep this page updated as soon as we are able to share more information about GHIC after Brexit.
Please ensure you talk about whether applicants need to have the card on them, refer to lost/stolen and the articles on our site related to that. Also, mention what it doesn’t cover. Without using names refer to the £100k as a case study that your brother could have had to pay if it was not for travel insurance. We just need to beef it up some more.
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