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Your EHIC travel insurance card has been reprieved and will still be valid tomorrow

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Will your EHIC card still be valid in 2021? Yes, it will.

One concern about the final Brexit agreement was that the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would be abolished. Luckily, they have been – just about – reprieved, albeit the name will change.

EHIC card will continue in 2021

What is an EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card was free. It allows UK residents to obtain the same treatment at a European hospital or medical practice that a local resident would receive.

The cards cover the EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Do you need to replace your existing EHIC?

No. The good news is that your existing EHIC card will continue to be valid in EU countries, and only EU countries, until the expiry date printed on the card.

This means that the four non-EU countries listed above are no longer covered by your EHIC.

What will replace your EHIC?

The UK Government has proposed a new product called the Global Health Insurance Card, or GHIC.

The GHIC will have the same coverage as your EHIC card, so there is no need to apply for a replacement. It will still not cover you in Switzerland etc.

The NHS website still allows you to apply for an EHIC although you will receive one of the new cards.

As with an EHIC, the GHIC is not a replacement for full travel insurance although you may feel that it is enough. Because you are only covered to the same level as a citizen of the country you are visiting, you may face charges for some services which would be free if you were in the UK.

You can find out more, including what you should do if you are a UK resident in Europe or a European resident in the UK, on the NHS site here.

Comments (225)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Navara says:

    Happy New Year Rob enjoy the fireworks 💥

  • Jonathan says:

    Ignoring the rights & wrongs of the principle behind Brexit, the way we’ve gone about it is a joke.

    The fact that fishing was turned into the key issue when it generates 0.02% of GDP & there are 8,000 WTE fishermen in the UK yet services was basically ignored tells you we have a government more interested in generating headlines in the Daily Mail than advancing our national interest. 61% of our fishing industry is also located in Scotland, a country that has never looked more likely to break away from the UK, primarily down to a desire to remain in the EU & therefore be subject to EU quotas… 🤷‍♂️

    If Brexit is to be a success which I imagine 99% of the population want, regardless of voting leave/remain, then it needs to be about objectively advancing the national interest not pointless red lines & irrelevant “principles”.

    • Harry T says:

      You mean the populist architects of Brexit pursued a policy driven by irrational ideology contrary to our national interests? Absolutely shocking.

    • TT says:

      Pretty sure the French turned fishing into a key issue. If they want to make it into a big deal when it’s such a small percent of gdp and we can extract more valuable concessions, brilliant!

      • James says:

        Fully sure it wasn’t, rather Boris and his sabre rattlers in the British press.

      • Callum says:

        What “concessions” did we extract? My (perhaps biased) interpretation was that the EU got almost exactly what they were asking for and we gained nothing in return?

        The point being made was that a significant amount of time was spent negotiating fishing (it’s rather nonsensical to blame “the French” when it was very obviously the UK that wanted changes, not anyone else…) but not services. Though I’d imagine they would have been incredibly harder to resolve than fishing quotas so I’m not sure you can blame them.

        While it was a common mantra throughout the referendum campaign that the world would roll over and give an independent UK anything we want, I think we can all imagine why the EU may want to help develop their own services industries instead of just letting UK companies continue as usual.

        • Dick Steele says:

          I’m afraid you’re wrong, Callum.

          The deal wouldn’t have passed in parliament if the EU had gained everything they wanted.

          Irrespective, the EU has many problems now. It has lost one of its main income contributors.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            It passed parliament because there was no other choice.

          • Dick Steele says:

            No deal was a choice. The fact that the EU made quite a number of concessions in their demands helped the deal gain approval by Eurosceptic MPs.

          • Harry T says:

            Can you list a single meaningful concession? At least quote me the Express or Mark Francois something?

          • J says:

            That’s rubbish, the ERG bottled it. Look at the sovereignty tests their ‘Star Chamber’ applied. Not only were they at a lower bar than for previous votes, but even full EU membership would have met their revised targets!

          • Dick Steele says:

            ERG didn’t bottle it. Everyone took a pragmatic look at the deal and saw the opportunities it now offers to the UK.

            I think treating all foreigners equally, regarding work visas, is a major plus point. No longer will EU nationals have advantages over non-EU nationals.

          • J says:

            Removal of freedom movement was in the three pre-Boris withdrawal agreement votes. The ERG voted against all of these. If the tests they applied to trade agreement were applied back in 2018, a very slightly amended agreement (which was offered, but rejected) would have passed. At the time that was seen as unconscionable to the ERG.

            The deal we now have is fairly appalling (follow EU rules on goods or face sanctions, and reduced access for our biggest industries), and represents a huge failure of negotiation on the part of the current government. Give it a year of so and the Eurosceptics will be criticising the deal that they are probably yet to read – the PM clearly hasn’t!

          • Callum says:

            Am I right in assuming that, despite supposedly categorically knowing that we got concessions for it, you’re going to flat out refuse to name them?

            The EU always has many problems… Given their loss from net UK membership contributions is something like 3% of the total budget, I think they’ll just about be able to cope.

  • Dick Steele says:

    The UK was the EU’s 2nd largest net contributor. The 2017 net contribution of the UK was over £6.5Bn to EU funds. So it is not an insignificant amount and will cause significant angst among the remaining members regarding shortfall.

    • Callum says:

      So, to answer my question, no you cannot name a single concession? Why are you either bothering to have this conversation? You add absolutely nothing of substance.

      The EU budget is around £130bn and they’ve been fully aware of this for over 4 years. They will be just fine… Obviously it will cause angst. As someone who supposedly knows so much about this, surely you’re well aware that every single EU budget causes angst yet they always figure it out in the end. (Not that I fully grasp why you care about this?)

      • Dick Steele says:

        Good luck to the EU is what I say – it’ll definitely need it to survive in its current form 😂

        • John says:

          I believe a number of the sceptic Member States will be impressed at what HMG have got out of the EU and will be watching closely how the next year or so pans out.

          • Dick Steele says:

            I agree. Euroscepticism will only rise across the EU now that Britain’s financial contributions are on the wane and every other nation will have to cough up a lot more for nothing extra in return.

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