If your EHIC is still valid it can be used on trips to any EU nation until it expires. Those whose cards are about to expire or already expired will have to apply for a new card, which will be the new GHIC that has replaced the EHIC. We look at what the EHIC/GHIC offers in terms of coverage:
Public healthcare – An EHIC/GHIC holder can visit any state-run hospital or consult a physician that is affiliated with the public healthcare system of the EU country they are visiting. While the treatment may be free in some nations there may be a cost involved that will be the same as that paid by the locals. However, not all services like those offered by the NHS may be available in an EU nation with patients needing to visit private hospitals for their treatment.
Existing condition: All EHIC/GHIC holders are covered for pre-existing medical conditions while on a trip to any EU country.
Routine maternity care: Any EHIC/GHIC individual that is pregnant is entitled to routine maternity care check-ups as and when needed.
Regular medical care: Those on dialysis, requiring oxygen etc. can visit state healthcare facilities as scheduled on a visit to any EU country. However, they will need to make arrangements with the hospital before the trip.
Get appointments or A&E treatment at any state-run hospital in case of any medical emergency.
Those travelling to Australia and New Zealand can also seek treatment for a medical emergency at state healthcare facilities.
What is not covered
EHIC/GHIC card holders can seek emergency medical treatment at any state-run healthcare facility in an EU country. Some treatments that are not included are:
Getting treatment at any private hospital or non-state affiliated doctor is not included.
If there is a need for an air ambulance or any kind of rescue by helicopter it is not covered.
Those on cruise liners are not eligible for treatment with their EHIC/GHIC cards at ports because the ship travels from one nation to another with those on board not considered temporary residents.
No kind of planned medical treatment or intentionally visiting a country to give birth.
There may be a cost incurred for medical prescriptions in certain EU nations that are paid by the locals as well and it is not covered.
Any charges for staying overnight due to hospitalisation, laundry, meals etc. are not likely to be covered by the EHIC/GHIC although private travel insurance might reimburse the bills.
Is everyone eligible for a GHIC?
The EHIC was valid for all EU citizens within the UK and in other countries that form part of the alliance. However, the GHIC is only for UK nationals. Individuals that are UK taxpayers who live in the country as residents are covered by the NHS and entitled to the GHIC in case they visit any EU nation. EU nationals are also eligible for the EHIC if they meet the required UK guidelines. Those EU nationals that do not qualify for a UK GHIC can get their EHICs from the EU country they live in.
If they change their residency, the GHIC entitlement will also be affected and may result in them becoming ineligible.
Using an expired EHIC/GHIC is not permitted with all medical costs will need to be paid by the individual.
Any UK national working or studying in an EU country may not be entitled to a UK GHIC as it would depend on their residency.