With stunning beaches, ancient history and lashings of culture, it comes as no surprise that Greece is a must-see hot spot for millions of tourists every year. Staying safe and healthy while abroad is a key priority for many travellers, and the recent departure of the UK from the EU has thrown up some questions and concerns regarding the accessibility of healthcare for British citizens.
What Is A Greece GHIC Card?
The Greece UK global insurance health card (GHIC) is the updated version of the EHIC card, launched in 2006 to allow the holder to enjoy free access to state medical care across all 27 countries of the EU, in addition to the four member states which comprise the European Free Trade Area – Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. This version of the card became invalid at the end of 2020, though anyone who applied for their card during 2020 will still be able to retain use for the full five years of its duration, subject to changes in legislation during the meantime. If you did not apply for your new card before the cut off, you will need to ensure that you have private travel insurance for visiting these countries.
What Is Covered By The Greece GHIC?
The Greece GHIC and Estonia GHIC card offers the updated version of the scheme, and allows the holder to access healthcare at no or low cost during their trip, as long as treatment is required due to accident or illness – this also protects the holder for any chronic or pre-existing health conditions at the time treatment is required, in addition to any routine maternity care. In a sense, the GHIC can act as your Greek Health Insurance Card.
What Is Not Covered By The Greece UK GHIC Card?
Though the Greece GHIC Card can help offer some reassurance in terms of healthcare provision, it is not a replacement for full insurance, due to the exclusions that will not be covered. Private medical healthcare is excluded, as well as any costs for treatment required on cruises. Being flown back to the UK is also not covered, as well as access to mountain rescue if you are injured on a ski trip. You will also not be protected if you travel to a country with the sole intention of receiving medical treatment.
Ambulances are another important consideration; the Greece GHIC Card or Finland GHIC card will not cover the costs associated with requiring an air ambulance, which can reach between £15,000 and £30,000, depending on the distance between your location and the UK. This could make getting home for treatment very difficult, and you will need health insurance to cover this.
Do I Need Private Insurance As Well As A Greece UK GHIC Card?
A recent survey by ABTA revealed that approximately 20% of British citizens never take out private health insurance cover if they are holidaying in an EU country, despite stats showing that one in every eight people have an accident or fall ill during their holiday.
Some of the most common causes of injuries or illnesses which need medical treatment include:
If you need to be flown home, chances are that your Greece health insurance card will not be enough – you will need to ensure that you have adequate insurance.
A Greece UK global insurance health card should always be obtained in conjunction with private travel insurance, which has been carefully selected to cover any needs you may encounter on your holiday. Make sure that you understand the basic level of coverage, any cover for disrupted travel, and any restrictions, exemptions or terms and conditions. Always read the small print; travel insurance is notoriously tricky and often includes obscure restrictions or situations where cover will not be offered.
This is especially important if you are used to the cover offered by the Greece UK global health insurance card or its predecessor, the EHIC – you may assume that certain elements are protected when this is not the case.
How Do I Start My Greece GHIC application?
Proceeding with your Greece GHIC or France GHIC card application depends largely on whether or not you are currently in possession of the old-style EHIC card. If you purchased this in 2020, the year of the changeover, you will be fully authorised to continue to use the card to access medical care across the 27 EU countries until the expiration of the card in five years – this is subject to any changes or adaptations in legislation.
If, however, you missed the cut-off, you will need to reapply for a new style GHIC card. This is a fairly simple process; simply head over to the CHIC site, and click on the option to apply for a card. You will be directed to a short form with a series of questions, including name, address and national insurance number. Once your application is complete, you will need to wait for approval and will receive your new card shortly after this.
Greece GHIC Card FAQs
Will I still need private healthcare if I have a global insurance health card?
Yes, you will still need to purchase private travel health insurance, even if you have a GHIC. This is because there are certain exemptions and exceptions not covered by the scheme, and you will need to make sure that you are fully protected under your own insurance policy.
Can I continue to use my EHIC card?
Anyone who obtained an EHIC card will be able to continue to use this until the expiration – they last for a period of 5 years. This includes all those who purchased their EHIC card in 2020 – they will have access to the original scheme until 2025, unless there is another decision and updated legislation.
How does this impact any EU citizens living in the UK?
With around 3.7 million EU nationals in the UK (around 5.6% of the total population), it is important to note that these individuals have an ongoing right to healthcare. Any EU citizen who resided in Britain prior to 31st December 2020 will still have the right to use the NHS for medical needs within the UK and can continue to use their EHIC or GHIC when travelling to an EU country. New cards can be applied for in 2021.