Why the Global Health Insurance Card is not a Substitute for Travel Insurance

Please Note: If you have an existing European Health Insurance Card, you can continue to use it until it expires, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, GHIC, healthcare and more.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) was introduced to give the holder access to treatment that becomes medically necessary during a temporary visit to the European Economic Area (EEA). The cards gives access to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from state healthcare providers in the EEA.

It is important to note that the medical treatment is from the state healthcare provider, so you get the same treatment as a national of the country you are visiting would be entitled to free of charge, but it must be remembered that no other country enjoys the broad level of healthcare we enjoy on the NHS. Furthermore, the card may not be used in some regions of the country you are visiting, as there may be no state provided healthcare available. It is also important that you ensure that you are treated by a state healthcare provider as you will not be covered for private healthcare. You should be particularly careful if the healthcare arrangements have been made by a hotel or travel representative. Currently, some 30 countries subscribe to the agreement, of which four are non EU-member states, namely; Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

The scheme covers the medical treatment only and repatriation back to the UK or any kind of convalescing will not under usual circumstances be covered. It is essential to note that in numerous countries it is literally just the emergency treatment itself that is covered and not the journey to the hospital in the ambulance, or the hospital bed you will occupy. However, you may be able to seek reimbursement for some of your treatment you have had to pay for when you are back in the UK. Therefore travel insurance is essential even if you do have an GHIC.

If you have a medical condition you should look for a specific pre existing medical condition insurance. When purchasing travel insurance with medical conditions, you must be careful to declare all you conditions no matter how minor you consider them to be. If you are unclear whether to declare something or not, declare it and let the travel insurance provider decide if it is relevant or not, and make sure you get everything you declare confirmed in writing.

It is important to remember that pre existing medical condition travel insurance does not only cover your medical treatment, it also covers other things such as; theft (your holiday money and personal items etc), cancellation, personal liability and various other eventualities depending on the type of policy you have purchased.

Hopefully after reading this you will decide to take out some form of travel insurance for your next holiday, after all piece of mind is priceless.

To get a pre existing medical condition travel insurance quote, or for more information please click here or give our UK customer service centre a call on 0333 005 1066.

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