U.K. Offers Global Health Insurance Card, Preserving EU Coverage


The U.K. unveiled a health insurance program on Monday which it said will allow travelers to continue to get emergency treatment in the European Union now Britain has left the bloc.

The free Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will gradually replace the existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and should be acquired two weeks before travel, the Department for Health and Social Care said in an email. Current EHICs are valid as long as they are in date, the department said.

The arrangement over health coverage is part of the trade accord struck between Britain and the EU on Christmas Eve, which came into force on Jan. 1. Citizens of the EU will have their EHICs accepted by the U.K.’s National Health Service.

The agreement “ensures the right for our citizens to access necessary health-care on their holidays and travels to countries in the EU,” Health Minister Edward Argar said in the statement. The GHIC “will provide certainty and security for all U.K. residents,” he said.

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