Post-Brexit global healthcare insurance card for travellers launched

11 January 2021, 18:53

It replaces European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), which remain valid as long as they are in date
It replaces European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), which remain valid as long as they are in date. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

A new insurance card enabling UK travellers to access healthcare in the European Union has been launched.

Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) became available on Monday as part of the UK's post-Brexit deal with the EU.

It replaces European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC), which remain valid as long as they are in date.

Travellers only need to apply for a new cards when their EHIC expires.

The Department of Health and Social Care said both cards offer equivalent protection for "emergency and medically-necessary healthcare needs" when a UK resident is in the EU on a temporary stay.

GHICs can be obtained from www.nhs.uk/GHIC and are free of charge.

Travellers are advised to apply at least two weeks before their next trip.

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Health Minister Edward Argar 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."

The NHS will continue to accept EHICs issued by EU member states.

People are being warned that an EHIC or GHIC is not a replacement for insurance.

As a result of Brexit there are a number of extra rules and regulations as we are now treated as a third country.

Hauliers are warning that freight delays will escalate this week as more firms attempt to send lorries abroad.

Rod McKenzie, director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said he is "very worried" about the impact of post-Brexit customs checks when cross-Channel trips reaching normal levels by Wednesday.

Dutch TV footage also showed border officials confiscating sandwiches and other food from drivers arriving in the Netherlands from the UK as post-Brexit rules forbids people from bringing food which originates from the UK into EU countries.

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SNP MP Patrick Grady said in the Commons today that musicians were struggling because of new post-Brexit visa rules.

He added: "Musicians and performers in Glasgow North have already been excluded very often from his support packages and they'll find it difficult to look towards a brighter future when at the end of the year the Government failed to negotiate visa-free touring for them across the United Kingdom.

"Many of us have been warning that Brexit would simply compound the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and this kind of decision seems to be proving the point, doesn't it?"

Mr Sunak replied: "We've provided significant support to our cultural industries and I think it's right that we highlight the contribution they make both to our society but also to our economy.

"I struggle to find any other countries who have matched the £1.5 billion of support we have provided which has now gone out to over 3,000 different cultural institutions."