Travelling to a foreign country is exciting and enriching, but it can also come with certain risks and challenges. One of the most important aspects of travel is ensuring that you have access to quality healthcare services in case of illness or injury. This is where a GHIC, or Global Health Insurance Card, can be a valuable asset. There are various ways you can apply for a GHIC before you travel, either by visiting ghiccard.org.uk or heading to the NHS website. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of having a GHIC when travelling abroad.
What is a GHIC?
A GHIC is a card that provides access to medical treatment in European Union (EU) countries, as well as in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein. It is the successor to the old EHIC (European Health Insurance Card), which was previously used by UK residents when travelling in the EU. The GHIC is free and can be obtained online from the UK government website.
Access to Medical Treatment
When you have a GHIC, you have access to medical treatment in the same way that local residents do. This means that if you fall ill or have an accident while travelling in an EU country, you can receive medical treatment for free or at a reduced cost. This can be particularly important if you require urgent medical attention, as you will not have to worry about the cost of treatment or the quality of care that you receive.
Cover for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
One of the key benefits of the GHIC is that it provides coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. This means that if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure, you will be able to access the same medical treatment as you would at home. This can provide peace of mind for travellers who are concerned about managing their health while abroad.
Reduced Cost of Treatment
Another benefit of a GHIC is that it can significantly reduce the cost of medical treatment while abroad. In many EU countries, medical treatment can be very expensive for non-residents, particularly if they require hospitalisation or specialist treatment. With a GHIC, you can access medical treatment at a reduced cost, which can help to ease the financial burden of healthcare expenses.
In addition to providing access to medical treatment, the GHIC also covers emergency treatment in certain circumstances, for example, if you need urgent care from A&E. If you require emergency medical treatment that cannot be provided locally, or if you need to be repatriated to the UK for medical reasons, the GHIC can help to cover the cost of these expenses in some cases, but you should ensure you have additional travel insurance in place to cover all bases. Using both insurance and GHIC together can be particularly important for travellers who are taking part in high-risk activities such as adventure sports, as the cost of emergency treatment or repatriation can be very high.
Peace of Mind
Finally, one of the most important benefits of having a GHIC is the peace of mind that it provides. When you are travelling abroad, it is natural to worry about the unexpected, particularly if you are travelling alone or in a remote location. With a GHIC, you can rest assured that you will have access to quality medical treatment if you need it, which can help to ease any anxieties that you may have.
A GHIC can provide a range of benefits for travellers, from access to medical treatment and reduced cost of treatment, to cover for pre-existing medical conditions and emergency treatment and repatriation. If you are planning to travel abroad, it is important to apply for a GHIC in advance to ensure that you have access to the healthcare services that you need. By doing so, you can travel with confidence and enjoy all of the enriching experiences that travel has to offer.