70% Of Adults Don’t Know How To Apply For Their Global Health Insurance Card (Ghic)

  • New data shows that 70% of adults do not know how, or when, to apply for a GHIC
  • Just 25% of UK adults have heard of a GHIC, with only 5% currently possessing one
  • Only 23% of those surveyed correctly identified that a GHIC covers state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay within the European Union

New data* has shown that many Brits are unaware of the protection that is given by the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC).

The research, commissioned by travel insurance provider battleface, shows that just under three quarters (70%) of UK adults do not know how, or when, they need to apply for a GHIC. Only 25% of adults surveyed were aware of the GHIC, showing a lack of awareness of the right to access emergency and medical care when travelling in the EU.

This data emerges as government ministers discuss the traffic light system for restarting travel on 17 May. The system will involve enforced hotel quarantine at the cost of £1,750 for red-listed countries as well as a strict testing protocol, a pre-departure test and at-home quarantine for up to ten days for amber-listed countries, and no quarantine but pre-departure and post arrival tests for green-listed countries.  With the introduction of this system, many people are beginning to think about their first trips abroad post-Brexit, meaning it is essential that holidaymakers are up to date on how they can access emergency and medical care when outside of the UK.

“In the current climate, it’s crucial that travellers are aware of how they’ll be protected in the event of an accident or medical emergency when abroad”, comments Katie Crowe, director of communications at battleface. “Recently, there has been an influx of online scammers who are trying to charge for processing GHIC applications, which is absolutely not the case as they are always provided for free. People are profiting from the gaps in consumer knowledge, and it’s essential that this is rectified.

As per UK government guidelines, when travelling to the EU, you need to have a passport that is more than six months away from its expiration date. If your passport is due to expire in less than six months, you must renew it before travelling. Since the introduction of the GHIC in January, you are still able to use your EHIC until its expiration date, at which point you can apply for a GHIC. I would remind those travelling that your GHIC does not replace travel insurance. Your card will only cover state-medical provision, and you might still have to pay at the point of provision. Travellers should carry their GHIC with them and take out the necessary travel insurance to ensure that any other associated costs, including repatriation, are covered.”

As restrictions on travel begin to ease, passengers travelling are advised to familiarise themselves with the traffic light system, the new documentation, and their travel insurance policies before they travel abroad.

*The study of 2,000 UK adults was carried out in March by Opinium Research on behalf of travel insurance provider battleface to look at the immediate motivators and barriers to international travel for 2021.