The British have been enjoying trouble-free travel to the lovely islands of Malta for many years. Did you know that it’s also a popular place for filmmaking? Year-round sunshine and a glorious, accessible coast are just part of the reason this group of islands is such a magnet.
However, even visits to this wonderful Mediterranean destination can go wrong! Many issues and setbacks could be covered by your all-important travel insurance. However, British visitors are also advised to apply for a Malta UK Global Health Insurance Card (also known as a GHIC).
This Malta Health Insurance Card enables you to get free medical services with some providers. This vital assistance (when you experience illness or injury) avoids you having to face big medical bills, which are not always covered by your travel insurance policy.
Here, we are going to explain the Malta GHIC Application process, how to use your card and the wider benefits of having a GHIC card.
Holiday preparation should include a Malta GHIC Application
Whether you are considering a first visit to Malta or you’re returning for a repeat stay, what can you expect and what does your Malta UK GHIC Card do?
The archipelago’s golden sands and blue seas are its biggest draw. Not simply because they offer idyllic relaxation though. Malta is one of the best diving destinations in Europe and offers unforgettable memories if you get to snorkel amidst the reefs, caves, and ancient wrecks too.
Sadly, severe sunburn or accidents while in the water do happen! That is the sort of situation when you will need your Malta GHIC card or Bulgaria GHIC card.
Of course, you may prefer to enjoy your days in Malta on dry land, exploring its ancient splendours including the 5,000-year-old Hagar Qim. Or, wandering around Malta’s capital city, Valletta, with its medieval charm and jaw-dropping architectural diversity. After all, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, and Arab visitors got to Malta long before the British started visiting!
Slips, falls or road accidents could require a visit to a local hospital. Also, even the amazing Maltese cuisine does not guarantee you against holiday tummy upsets, which can lead to a visit to a doctor!
These are just some of the times when you will be pleased that you can show your Malta GHIC Card or Croatia GHIC card.
What is a Malta UK GHIC Card?
It’s worth providing some background on the Malta UK Global Health Insurance Card, to help you understand its importance.
When the UK was part of the EU, travelling across Europe meant benefiting from free or subsidised health services using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you still have a valid EHIC, you can continue to use it in EU countries until it expires.
However, the EHIC has been replaced by the GHIC! The Global Health Insurance Card is based on a similar reciprocal agreement between public health organisations in the UK and EU countries.
When you apply for a Malta GHIC, you can use your card for future visits to that country, but you can also use it in other nations that are members of the EU. Potentially, other countries may be added to the list too, such as Australia.
How to use your Malta GHIC card
The important thing to keep in mind is that the agreement is between the NHS and other state-funded healthcare providers. In other words, you can’t use your Malta UK Global Health Insurance Card to get free medical assistance at private surgeries or hospitals.
Instead, if you do have an illness or injury, you need to find providers funded by Malta’s Department for Policy in Health. That organisation can help you with medical queries while on the islands too.
If you present your Malta Health Insurance Card or Cyprus GHIC card, unavoidable medical care is free from the country’s state-funded doctors and hospitals. Most prescriptions will also be free, as will ambulance transport.
Keep in mind that the GHIC agreement is relatively new, so this information is subject to change. It’s worth checking the cover provided by your Malta GHIC before your holiday or business trip.
How the Malta GHIC Application process works
Many people enjoy the speed and convenience of using a specialist GHIC agency. To be eligible for a Malta UK GHIC Card, you must provide evidence of your identity, address and citizenship of the UK.
Each person in your family group needs to have their own Malta GHIC. However, you can apply for one for yourself, and ones for your partner and children.
Remember too that your GHIC lasts for a few years (timeframe to be announced) and it can be used for future holidays to other countries within the EU.
Frequently asked questions
What happens if I can’t show a Malta GHIC card?
As long as you did get a GHIC card before your Malta trip, don’t panic if you lost or forgot it. You need to apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate, which can be emailed or faxed to the doctor or hospital. You get this PRC by contacting:
NHS Overseas Healthcare Services – +44 (0)191 218 1999 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).
You will be asked for your National Insurance Number, to verify that you have a Malta GHIC.
If you don’t apply for a card, you will have to pay for your non-refundable health care in Malta.
Can I get free specialist medical treatment with a Malta GHIC?
The Maltese public health care system provides free medical assistance if you have the correct documentation – a Malta UK Global Health Insurance Card or PRC (see above). This includes some unavoidable specialist treatments for pre-existing conditions, such as oxygen therapy or dialysis. You would need to arrange this before your trip to Malta.
However, having a Malta GHIC does not cover costs if you opt to travel to this country for a medical procedure that the NHS could have provided.
Can a Malta GHIC cover maternity charges?
If you give birth in Malta unexpectedly, then there is a good chance your Malta GHIC card will offset the costs involved. However, if you choose to go to Malta to have your baby, then it invalidates your GHIC.