Reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the European Union
As part of the Brexit negotiations, the Government has come to an agreement with the EU about reciprocal healthcare arrangements. From 1 January 2021, people who travel from the UK to the EU (and EU travellers in the UK) will continue to be able to receive medically necessary treatment if they fall ill while abroad, but with some subtle differences in administration. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be replaced by the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). Like the EHIC, the new card is also free and applications can be completed online via the NHS website.
Current EHIC holders will still have access to necessary healthcare in EU countries until the card’s expiry date, at which point they will be able to apply for the new GHIC.
The new card covers all emergency care and pre-planned treatments such as dialysis and chemotherapy. People who require pre-planned treatment during their trip to an EU country can arrange to have it paid for in advance, and should not have to pay upfront for treatment themselves. Please note that only the EU27 countries are covered by this arrangement in its current form – so not the Schengen Area countries Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Lichtenstein. It’s not yet clear what additional countries will be covered by GHIC in future, but they are likely to include countries such as Australia and New Zealand, with whom the UK already has reciprocal healthcare arrangements.
More information about healthcare while travelling to the EU can be found on GOV.UK.