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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 (226)

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

  • Nick_C says:

    “To the Brexiteers here arguing petty non-sensical points,”

    I think it’s the Remoaners who continue to argue. And to no avail. The Brexiteers won the argument four and a half years ago.

    Time for all of us to move on.

    • Navara says:


    • ChrisC says:

      If you want people to move on then stop using school yard insults like “remoaners”

      • Joe says:

        After the atrocious language and behaviour directed at leave voters I’ll do no such thing. It only applies to those who don’t accept the result in any case.

        • Dick Steele says:

          The thing is…all the insults levelled between both sides mean absolutely nothing. It won’t change anything that’s happened.

          Yet those who feel strongly about Brexit spend literally all day on Twitter in an echo chamber without realising the futility of what they are doing.

          If anything, Gina Miller facilitated Brexit

        • Callum says:

          I’ve always found it amusing how people so adamant that we need to “get our sovereignty back” and “rebuild democracy” often simultaneously angrily declare that everyone MUST support their personal policial opinion.

          Perhaps you’re new to the idea of democracy, but opposing things is actually a very crucial component of it… What next? “The Conservatives won the general election, Labour MUST accept the result, stop moaning and agree with absolutely everything Boris wants without complaint”?

      • Nick_C says:

        It was a response to someone using the word “Brexiteer”. I don’t think either is appropriate, but to make a point to someone you sometimes need to come down to their level.

        • J says:

          ‘Brexiteer’ was coined by the Leave campaign as part of strategy to redefine Brexit post referendum. Not entirely sure how that is comparable against ‘Remoaner’ which was designed as an insult to shut down debate.

      • TGLoyalty says:


  • Joe says:

    How about the other way around?

    Can I use my Swiss EHIC card in the UK? I’ve tried googling but struggling to find info.

  • Charlieface says:

    The most hilarious thing about the EHIC is it is effectively only there for insurance companies. No-one should be travelling without insurance, and policies usually state you must use an EHIC otherwise you pay a higher excess.

    • Callum says:

      Not really. It’s there to prove eligibility for healthcare, a right we used to have as EU residents (and thankfully looks like we’ll continue to have under new arrangements). I prefer to self-insure most of my EU trips because of it (however unwise you may deem it to be).

      There’s no doubt it helps insurers (though given premiums are far lower because of it, I’m not sure by how much), but it’s clearly not why it exists. Likewise with our other reciprocal arrangements in places like Australia and New Zealand.

  • A says:

    I still don’t see any leave voters providing any substantial benefit. Please could you explain what you have won us? Where is the opportunity?

    • Nick_C says:

      Probably because they don’t see any value in reopening an issue that was settled four and a half years ago, that is totally off topic in a discussion about the EHIC/GHIC scheme.

      • A says:

        Materially the GHIC scheme appears to be a net reduction in benefit compared to the previous EHIC scheme (four non-EU countries listed above are no longer covered by your EHIC. ) So are there any benefits from the trade deal for travellers or not?

        • Rob says:

          Of course not. The whole point of Brexit is to make travel more difficult, or impossible. You can no longer live or work in the EU. You can no longer visit for long periods. You will need an ESTA to visit from 2022. Your retirement plans in Spain are over. You need 6 months on your passport to be allowed in. You will have to join the non-EU/EEA queue in most countries.

          • Dick Steele says:

            “You can no longer live or work in the EU” because of Brexit?

            Why are you so many non-EU nationals working across the EU then?

          • TT says:

            Unless you are a European living in the UK!!… We have now the benefit of Europe Via our passport, and benefits of Brexit whilst living in the UK ( if any)….. time will tell!!

          • TT says:

            We are guests in foreign counties and they in ours

          • John says:

            Spanish suddenly going to be able to afford to buy their own empty villas then Rob?

            I thought you of all people would know that money talks. Relatives of mine moved out to Spain long before free movement.

            The problem with free movement to work is that it’s only the poorer, more pillaged by the richer MS (especially Germany with East to West) that make use of it. The vast majority of educated and skilled Brits, Germans, Dutch would have always been eligible to move around without issue.

            Nanny’s for Kensington mums, and to keep Dad warm- have just got a bit more expensive.

          • Rob says:

            There have been no EU nannies available in London since the Brexit vote. We couldn’t get a German at any price.

        • Darren says:

          @A, a couple of reports mention U.K. negotiating with Switzerland/EFTA to include them in reciprocal arrangements so this may change

      • James says:

        Nice way of avoiding an answer Nick.

    • J says:

      Pretty sure they’ll all be pushing hard on the benefits of an India trade deal soon enough. You know, the sort of deal the EU were going for that was vetoed by the UK, because Theresa May (as home secretary) didn’t like the idea of having to trade some visas in exchange.

    • Magic Mike says:

      Is that you Lord Adonis?

      Anyway surely 2021 is the year we stop arguing about Brexit?

  • A says:

    Dick Steele, leave it out, Rob obviously means without having to get a visa. EU ESTA by 2022, great 🙁
    Anyway have a great new years everyone.

  • William Kerr says:

    if you want to do anything enough you will always find a way……

    • Nick says:

      Yes… but marrying a Frenchman for a visa is not the ‘just turn up’ we had before. Yes some things will still be possible, but many many times harder, and with no real benefit in return. It’s a very sad day.

  • William Kerr says:

    save your breaths and just get on with it…!

  • Navara says:

    Happy New Year Rob enjoy the fireworks 💥

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