If you’re planning to cross the Channel for business or pleasure this year, make sure you carry a UK health insurance card with you otherwise you could have to pay any medical expenses from your own pocket.
Rules have changed in the past two years and the previous EHIC is being phased out for UK travellers, so now would be a good time to check that you have the right documentation.
If you hold a valid EHIC issued before 31 December 2020 then you can continue to use this until the expiry date when you must apply for either the UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC) or the UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC). You can apply for a new card on-line up to 6 months before your current card expires using the NHS website; see below for a link to the site or search for ‘NHS Healthcare abroad’.
NB: The UK GHIC and new UK EHIC are issued free of charge. Beware of unofficial websites which may charge you a fee to apply.
Most people will require a UK GHIC as the new UK EHIC card is mainly applicable to UK citizens working and living in the EU and Switzerland. There are some other exceptions and you should check the Government website for full details before making an application: https://www.gov.uk/global-health-insurance-card
The UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) lets you get state healthcare in Europe at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. However, neither the GHIC or the EHIC replace travel insurance and you are advised to take out a comprehensive policy as soon as you book your trip. Most travel insurers will also require you to carry a health insurance card.
If you have on-going medical issues that might require treatment while you are away then consult the NHS website for details of how to arrange this in advance of your trip.
You can find full details of the new cards, how to apply for one and how and when it can be used at:
Remember, these cards are FREE OF CHARGE. Please ensure you apply for yours through the NHS website and not through an agent who may charge a fee.