Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Thursday 11 February 2021

I'm covered. Sort of.

On the left, my European Health Insurance Card, which allowed me access to local health services elsewhere in the EU, on the same terms as citizens of the country concerned (except that I notice - only now - that I didn't notice it expiring in 2018 and had a merry time not being covered at all in my European travels in 2019 - oops). 

On the right, my shiny new Global Health Insurance Card, which does much the same job, even after Brexit (except in the other EEA countries - Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein) - not that there's much prospect of foreign travel any time soon (though let's hope there will be before this card expires in 2026).

The "Global" monicker is a nod to reciprocal health agreements with some other countries around the world. These have existed for years already, and to take advantage of them, existing documentation seems to have been enough:  the government makes no actual claim that the new card is proof of entitlement under those agreements (and even says it isn't proof that one's entitled to use our own NHS). 

So what we have is a distinction without much of a difference. Except that the distinction is having a Union Jack on it. And that makes all the difference, apparently. Cheers, Boris. 


  1. Brexit has turned out to be a very expensive re-branding opportunity! Even more form filling and very cross fishermen.

  2. That's the least of it, I suspect.

  3. I think the EHIC is more elegant to look at and was certainly useful. The GHIC is rather garish, but at least they got the Union Flag the right way up.

    1. I think that counts as being grateful for small mercies. Wouldn't have surprised me if they had got it the wrong way up.