Sweden is a wonderful place to visit on holiday and a common destination for many business travellers, not least as it is one of the most prosperous European countries.
Like other nations, it has its own special features, attractions and ambience. It also has its own health system! This is something you need to know about because unfortunately, even on the shortest trips to Sweden, you could have to deal with an injury or illness – one that necessitates a visit to a doctor, dentist or hospital.
This guide will explain what to do when a problem crops up on your trip and the reasons you need a Sweden UK Global Health Insurance Card. It will also show you how to make a Sweden GHIC application.
What is a Sweden UK GHIC Card?
When the UK was part of the EU, it was possible for holidaymakers and business travellers to access free or subsidised health services using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Post-Brexit, it is no longer possible to get an EHIC. Though, if you have one that is still valid, you can continue to use it.
Fortunately, the EHIC has been replaced by a new card, called a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This is what new applicants will get, or it will be the card you apply for when your EHIC expires.
Getting a Sweden GHIC or Austria GHIC card still provides you with free or reduced-cost health services in that country, under a similar reciprocal agreement. The big difference between an EHIC and GHIC is the number of countries it covers. Currently, your Sweden GHIC can only be used on future trips to the 27 members states of the EU.
Reasons you need a Sweden Health Insurance Card
This is such a beautiful and relaxing holiday destination that it could lull you into believing you don’t need a Sweden GHIC. After all, what could possibly go wrong as you explore the fertile countryside in the south or the icy majesty of Northern Sweden?
This destination is a paradise for anyone who loves nature, with its 100,000 lakes, jaw-dropping jagged landscape and lush forests. Not to mention the chance to see the Northern Lights and experience the Midnight Sun!
However, if you travel by road, rail, bicycle, boat or hiking in Sweden, you could suffer an injury that requires hospital attention. That certainly applies if you engage in snow sports while visiting!
Maybe you are heading for a city break in Sweden. Stockholm has become a favourite for holidays and short stays, especially the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and the chance to explore some of the 14 islands that create the Swedish capital city. No wonder it’s called the ‘Venice of the North’.
This country is far from being the cheapest European destination. If you are taken ill in Stockholm or anywhere else in Sweden, you could find yourself facing a hefty bill if you don’t have a Sweden GHIC.
Using your Sweden UK Global Health Insurance Card
We will explain ways to make a Sweden GHIC or Belgium GHIC card Application later. First, let’s look at how you would use it. Keep in mind this is subject to change and you are advised to check the latest information before your trip.
Sweden has a 24-hour national advice line for health information. You ring 1177 and they point you towards any assistance you need.
Your Sweden GHIC then entitles you to free or reduced-cost health services from a doctor, dentist or hospital, but only ones covered by the country’s public health system. In other words, you can’t use your Sweden GHIC card to offset costs charged by private healthcare providers. It must be emergency or unavoidable treatment too.
When you present your Sweden UK Global Health Insurance Card, you will need your passport for proof of identity.
What if I don’t have a Sweden GHIC?
If you don’t apply for a GHIC before your trip to Sweden, you’re liable for the entire cost of any healthcare you receive. This is non-refundable and expensive!
If you do have a Sweden UK GHIC Card but you can’t produce it at your consultation (because it has been lost or stolen for instance), don’t panic. It may be possible to get a temporary replacement Sweden GHIC – called a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC). You get this by ringing the NHS Overseas Healthcare Services on +44 (0)191 218 1999. This service is only available Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm, and you need your National Insurance Number.
How to apply for a Sweden UK GHIC Card
Your Sweden GHIC or Bulgaria GHIC card application can be made directly to the NHS. However, some people prefer to use a specialist agency who helps with GHIC cards. Eligibility for your Sweden GHIC depends on your ability to prove your identity, address and citizenship of the UK.
You can apply for Sweden GHIC cards for yourself, your spouse, children and other family members if you can provide the evidence mentioned above. Each traveller needs their own Sweden Health Insurance Card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Sweden GHIC Card a free alternative to travel insurance?
Absolutely not! Travel insurance covers diverse issues that can happen on a trip to Sweden. Your Sweden GHIC is simply an important way to get free or reduced-cost health services from state-funded providers.
Can I get help for pre-existing conditions using a Sweden GHIC?
One of the great things about this reciprocal agreement for public-funded health services is that it covers unavoidable treatment in Sweden for pre-existing health issues. This includes, for example, dialysis. Remember, you may still need to pay local charges, but they will be greatly reduced with your Sweden GHIC card.
Also, a Sweden Health Insurance Card does not reduce the cost when you choose to go there to give birth, or to have an operation or procedure. It covers you for emergency and unavoidable health services only.
Can I only use my Sweden GHIC Card in that country?
You don’t have to apply for separate GHIC cards for each country you visit. Your Sweden GHIC application provides you with a card you can use in any of the 27 EU states. There may be more countries added to the list as the system evolves.
The expiry date of the card will also be a while off, so you can use it for future visits to Sweden as well as stays in other countries covered by the GHIC scheme.