Reciprocal EU healthcare arrangements confirmed

The government has clarified how healthcare arrangements with the EU will work post-Brexit.

Under the new agreement with the EU, UK residents’ rights to emergency and medically necessary healthcare will continue when travelling in the EU. Current European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC/E111) remain valid as long as they are in date.

However, the UK is launching a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will gradually replace existing EHICs. People only need to apply for a new GHIC when their current EHIC expires.

Both cards will offer equivalent protection for emergency and medically necessary healthcare needs when in the EU on a temporary stay, which includes holiday, study and business travel.

The new GHIC card is free to obtain from the official GHIC website. People should apply at leasttwo weeks before they plan to travel to ensure their card arrives on time.

The government recognises sensitivities around flags in Northern Ireland. As such, residents in Northern Ireland will have the option to choose an alternative version of the GHIC card, which they will be able to apply for shortly.

If a UK resident requires emergency or medically necessary treatment while in the EU, and doesn’t have a GHIC or EHIC, a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) can be obtained which will provide the same coverage for healthcare.

A PRC can only be requested at the point of requiring care - UK nationals can contact NHSBSA on +44 (0)191 218 1999 should one be required.

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