Free GHIC discussion

edited 19 February at 3:42PM in Overseas Holidays & Travel Planning
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MSE_OliverMSE_Oliver MSE Staff
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This thread is specifically to discuss the free GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card).

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  • parcivalparcival Forumite
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    What are you wanting to discuss?
    I applied in January, sent a few weeks later - efficient...
  • highlandlairdhighlandlaird Forumite
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    Has anyone tried applying recently. I keep getting a server can’t connect message? I  managed to register, but when filling out the application, constantly crashes. 


  • mortirolomortirolo Forumite
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     I would say the EHIC card is useless, myself and my family when needed medical treatment over the years it's "show me your passport", all 3 countries was like that. what the hell is this card rubbish none of hospitals had even heard of EHIC? I've never seen a EU citizen carry a EHIC either. Best practice now is take full comprehensive travel insurance get GHIC as well you'll never know your luck, if you read closely the agreements in a lot of EU countries for Brits will get basically extremely thin on the ground medical assistance or very little. Myself and my family are dual British and EU Citizens, so we are lucky unlike most British we are covered in the EU without worries. Imagine now been in Switzerland sick in one of the most expensive countries and wealthy countries in the world, with one of the best medical reputations in the world, then been stitched with a high cost, might bankrupt you, they have now since Brexit removed Britain from EHIC as even though Switzerland is not part of the EU they have over 500 agreements with the EU, TBH it's like been in the EU almost but there are differences........so from my past experience get GHIC or take your valid EHIC but make sure you have the best travel insurance. This is another downfall of Brexit they never tell the small print.
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    mortirolo said:
     I would say the EHIC card is useless, myself and my family when needed medical treatment over the years it's "show me your passport", all 3 countries was like that. what the hell is this card rubbish none of hospitals had even heard of EHIC? I've never seen a EU citizen carry a EHIC either. Best practice now is take full comprehensive travel insurance get GHIC as well you'll never know your luck, if you read closely the agreements in a lot of EU countries for Brits will get basically extremely thin on the ground medical assistance or very little. Myself and my family are dual British and EU Citizens, so we are lucky unlike most British we are covered in the EU without worries. Imagine now been in Switzerland sick in one of the most expensive countries and wealthy countries in the world, with one of the best medical reputations in the world, then been stitched with a high cost, might bankrupt you, they have now since Brexit removed Britain from EHIC as even though Switzerland is not part of the EU they have over 500 agreements with the EU, TBH it's like been in the EU almost but there are differences........so from my past experience get GHIC or take your valid EHIC but make sure you have the best travel insurance. This is another downfall of Brexit they never tell the small print.
    Lots of people have successfully used EHIC.
    Are you sure you understand what treatment the EHIC covers?
    And are you aware that the EHIC (or the GHIC) is not an alternative to travel insurance?

  • mortirolomortirolo Forumite
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    Not from my experiences but I'm sure others have used EHIC successfully. I would like to hear back from British citizens now who travel abroad having experiences with EHIC after Brexit, not many at the moment. I know how especially small medical hospitals in small towns or villages react to a EHIC, in my case unheard of even not far outside Lisbon in a hospital, once they saw the EU passport everything was fine documents filled in. I personally wouldn't trust EHIC anymore with Britain officially out of the EU. On the 3 occasions we used our passport we didn't pay anything with first class service one the treatments as a broken collar bone more serious paid nothing, EHIC was ignored in my particular situations on 3 occasions that all I can say.
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    mortirolo said:
    Not from my experiences but I'm sure others have used EHIC successfully. I would like to hear back from British citizens now who travel abroad having experiences with EHIC after Brexit, not many at the moment. I know how especially small medical hospitals in small towns or villages react to a EHIC, in my case unheard of even not far outside Lisbon in a hospital, once they saw the EU passport everything was fine documents filled in. I personally wouldn't trust EHIC anymore with Britain officially out of the EU. On the 3 occasions we used our passport we didn't pay anything with first class service one the treatments as a broken collar bone more serious paid nothing, EHIC was ignored in my particular situations on 3 occasions that all I can say.

    Don't you think that having a EHIC and then showing your British passport gave you access to the same health care at the same cost (or free) as Portuguese residents?

    Why do you say you wouldn't trust EHIC anymore when GOV.UK says:
    If you have a UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) it will be valid until the expiry date on the card. Once it expires, you’ll need to apply for a GHIC to replace it.
    And the MSE article says this:
    The free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is being phased out following the Brexit deal in favour of a new, also free, Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which has now launched – though many will still be able to use an EHIC for now. Both cards get free or discounted medical care in all EU countries.


  • mortirolomortirolo Forumite
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    on 3 occasions, in 3 different countries there was utter confusion when I showed medical staff my EHIC, they didn't seem to understand the card, even after explaining and I speak fluent French,  they couldn't understand the card or what is was, they just kept showing me their own Medical card, then I showed my passports and the wanted a Drivers License for proof of address everything was fine. So from 3 experiences in 3 different countries for myself and my families experience EHIC was useless. Also my wife speaks Portuguese and we had the issues at the hospital, EHIC not understood. The reason I think, is a lot of countries in the EU do not have a EHIC card they have their own countries medical card.............it would be such a hassle for someone or a family that had experiences like me especially when you don't speak the local language and in an emergency.   
  • smallblueplanetsmallblueplanet Forumite
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    EHIC worked fine for me in Spain. If you don't want one don't get one.
    I'll be getting a GHIC when my EHIC runs out.
  • stonemanstoneman Forumite
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    I applied for the new card over the phone because I lost my EHIC, received in the post 2 weeks later. Good service
    The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.
  • General_GrantGeneral_Grant Forumite
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    I received my GHIC in the promised timescale.
    I think some travel insurance assumes you have the card when eligible and your benefits under the insurance policy will take the entitlement into account if you make a claim.  So best to have it and not simply rely solely on private travel insurance.
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