Navigating healthcare abroad without an GHIC

Navigating healthcare abroad without an GHIC

Here is our guide for navigating healthcare abroad without an GHIC. If you do not have one, or if it has been lost or stolen, here is what you should do to protect yourself as much as you can.

What is an Global Health Insurance Card?

The Global Health Insurance Card (formerly known as European Health Insurance Card) protects EU citizens when they are traveling in another country of the EU. Basically, it allows the cardholder to be treated as a resident of the country he or she is visited. For example, if you are from the UK and in need of medical assistance while you are on holidays in Greece, you will be treated as a Greek citizen would be. In most cases, treatment in public hospitals will be free of charge. However, in some cases, like in French public hospitals, you may have to pay for your treatments or a part of it. Back in the UK, you can ask for a refund for part or all the cost.

Where is the GHIC valid?

The card is valid in the countries of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. There are some exceptions like the Channel Islands, Monaco, Vatican City, and San Marino, where your  GHIC will not cover in case you need medical assistance. Finally, there are also some countries out of the EEA that accept the card, such as New Zealand and Australia. To check the full list of countries, please check here > 

What does it cover?

The GHIC (Previously known as EHIC) covers you when you are traveling abroad if you need medical treatment. If you suffer from a chronic or pre-existing medical condition, your routine treatments (such as kidney dialysis or oxygen) will be covered. However, it is important to arrange these treatments in advance with your GP. We recommend you to check what is covered and not covered before you travel. You can find more details here >

Can I go abroad without an GHIC?

The GHIC is not mandatory. However, we highly recommend you to get one. The benefits and the peace of mind offered by the GHIC are unquestionable. If you are unlucky and need immediate medical assistance or operation while you are abroad, you could face very large bills. Some highly technical operations can cost £100,000 or more. If you do not have a valid GHIC, you will have to pay for these costs. The card has been created to prevent that kind of situations and offers great peace of mind.

As the GHIC does not cover all situations such as air ambulance or cruises, it works well in addition to a private travel insurance policy. More and more insurers are asking if you have an GHIC before contracting a policy with you. If you want to compare different policies, you can head to this comparison website > 

If you have lost or forgotten your card, or if it has been stolen, you will still be able to receive treatment. However, you will need a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). You can learn more about it here > 

Please click here to start your GHIC application process.