Ehic health cover maintained by Brexit deal: What to do

Ehic cover, or equivalent, continues for UK residents visiting the EU, such as second home owners, and UK S1 holders such as British state pensioners in France, however you may need to apply for a new card

4 January 2021
By Connexion journalist

Rules on Ehic cover for UK residents visiting France have been clarified by the UK government after key healthcare issues were included in the new Brexit future relationship deal.

Notably, residents of the UK who are coming to EU countries such as France, including those with French second homes, may now continue using existing UK Ehics whilst they are still in their validity period.

Otherwise, new UK ‘Ehics’ (European Health Insurance Card) will now only be issued to certain restricted groups. An equivalent national replacement called a ‘Ghic’ (UK Global Health Insurance Card) will be issued to travellers instead.

This will provide the same cover as the Ehic card, but under the different name.

This comes as good news as there was concern that if there had been no future relationship agreement full private health insurance would have been the only option for visitors.

If you do not have a valid card at present, you do not have to apply immediately, but should do so in good time before a planned trip.

The Ehic and Ghic cover medically necessary state-provided healthcare in other European countries at a reduced cost or, in many cases, free of charge, until your planned return home. This includes treatment of a chronic or pre-existing medical condition that becomes necessary during your visit.

Here is what to do depending on your category:

Residents of the UK who are visiting France, including second home owners

If you have an existing Ehic you can still use it for necessary healthcare during your visits to France. UK Ehics are valid for up to five years.

If you do not have one, you should apply instead for a Ghic before your next visit.

We note that on writing the site still refers to ‘Ehics’, however this is expected to be updated today.

UK state pensioners and disability benefit claimants living in France who have an S1 form

While the UK was in the EU this group still had UK-issued Ehics to access healthcare while abroad in the EU on trips if necessary. This continues under the deal, however they are asked to apply for a new British Ehic as those issued prior to this year will no longer be valid in this case. 

Several categories of people covered by the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, who were in this category before the end of 2020, have to do the same as the S1 pensioners mentioned above:

EU/EEA citizens living in the UK, frontier workers, workers posted to work in the EU, as well as close family members and dependents of eligible people.

UK students studying in the EU who moved before 2021 are also eligible.

Previous articles

Pension and healthcare protection in new Brexit deal 

Britons in France can now get post-Brexit Ehic cover 

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