European Health Insurance Card UK - Common Queries Answered
But first what is UK EHIC?
The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) entitles you to free or reduced-cost state healthcare in Europe. If you have a European health insurance card UK, it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you'll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it.
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If you already have an EHIC, it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. You have up to 6 months before your current card expires to apply for a new one.
When you go to an EU country or Switzerland, you can use your card to get state-provided medical care if you need it.
Medically necessary healthcare is defined as care that cannot be delayed until you return to the UK. The healthcare provider in the country you're visiting decides whether treatment is required.
Medically necessary healthcare includes services such as:
- A&E visits and emergency care.
- Treatment of long-term or pre-existing medical conditions.
- Routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that require surveillance
- As long as you are not giving birth abroad, routine maternity care is enough.
- Kidney dialysis and oxygen therapy for
- Some treatments, such as kidney dialysis or chemotherapy, will need to be prearranged with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you're visiting.
Because not all state healthcare is free in the EU and Switzerland, you may have to pay for services that are free in the NHS.
European Health Insurance Card
If You Are Abroad And Do Not Have Your NHS EHIC Card, You Can Use A Provisional Replacement Certificate
If you need treatment in Europe and don't have your current EHIC, UK GHIC, or new UK EHIC, you can get a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to show that you are entitled to medically necessary care.
You can only use a UK GHIC in Switzerland if you are a UK national, a Swiss national, an EU Member State citizen, a refugee, a stateless person, or a family member, dependent, or survivor of someone with one of these nationalities or statuses.
When using your UK GHIC in Switzerland, you may be asked to provide proof of your nationality or status.
If you are from another EU country or Switzerland and are visiting the UK and get sick or have a medical emergency while you are there, you can use a valid EHIC from your home country to get medical care.
According to NHS figures, 5.6 million EHICs will expire in 2022. Check that yours is still valid before leaving; if it isn't, you'll usually need to apply for the GHIC.
If you are a UK State Pensioner or receive other exportable benefits and have lived in the Republic of Ireland since before January 1, 2021, you may be eligible for a new UK EHIC.
Your European health insurance card UK does not replace travel insurance. It may not cover all medical expenses and will never cover repatriation costs. Check that you have travel insurance in addition to your card.