During the course of 2021, British citizens’ access to healthcare while travelling in Europe will change slightly in the way it is provided. That is because the UK is phasing out the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), in line with its final withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
This does not mean, however, that Brits in Europe will suddenly be faced with large healthcare bills if they have an accident or fall ill whilst in Romania or any other European country. What it does mean is that, instead of the EHIC, they will need a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead.
Healthcare for travellers in Romania
Since the 1st of January 2007, Romania has been a full member of the European Union. Unlike other EU countries, however, Romania is not yet part of the Schengen free travel zone; its application for this scheme is ongoing. So, while Romania is an EU state, there are still border checks when entering or leaving the country.
What is the Romania GHIC Card?
As of entering the EU, Romania also became part of the European Economic Area, which means that it entered into the EHIC scheme (soon to be replaced by the Romania GHIC Card). This Romania health insurance card provides access to healthcare for cardholders on the same basis as Romanian citizens; this is free at the point of access, as guaranteed by the country‘s constitution.
The country’s big towns and cities have excellent healthcare facilities populated by highly qualified and motivated staff. This level of care can be less reliable once travellers enter some poorer, remote rural areas, however, which is why it’s essential to have a Romania GHIC or Italy GHIC card on hand to avoid any potential delays in the case of accidents or illness. Before travelling, head to Romania – GHIC.co.uk to make sure you’re covered and to make a Romania GHIC application.
EHIC to GHIC
The EHIC covers accidents and illnesses suffered while travelling in a covered country. It also provides for a treatment for those with ongoing healthcare issues, such as kidney patients who require regular dialysis. This is a great comfort to a huge number of travellers and helps both tourism and business thrive in all EHIC member nations.
For these reasons, the British government is keen to continue with a similar healthcare arrangement post-Brexit. The GHIC scheme is designed to replace EHIC as seamlessly as possible; instead of renewing a current EHIC or applying for a new one, travellers to covered countries are advised to apply for a Romania UK GHIC Card or Latvia GHIC card.
One obvious difference between the two systems is the countries covered; Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are non EU states where the EHIC still works, but will not be covered by the GHIC. However, travellers with a Romania UK GHIC Card or Lithuania GHIC card can rest assured that their health care will be covered in much the same way as before. Visit Romania – GHIC.co.uk for more details and to make a Romania GHIC application.
Tourism in Romania
Before the Covid 19 pandemic struck and world travel became all but impossible, Romania was leading the list of European countries favoured by British tourists. Thanks to a determined opening up on behalf of the country’s authorities after decades of Cold War lockdown, hundreds of thousands of visitors were able to take in the country’s unique visitor attractions for the first time; this included those from European countries including the UK.
In the decade between 2007 and 2017, British tourism in Romania grew by almost a quarter (24%), to a mighty 347,000 visitors in that last year. The favourable exchange rate with the Romanian Leu, plus the expansion of package and other travel deals, made the country a magnet for more and more Brits year on year; membership of the EU also made travel to and from the country very easy. Not only that, the cost of living in the country is one of the lowest in the continent of Europe.
As well as stunning towns and cities, including Bucharest and its world-famous Palatul Parlamentului building, Romania is a land of stunning natural beauty. With the Carpathian Mountains dominating the north central region and Transylvania (home of the Dracula legend) at its heart, Romania is perfect for those who love unspoiled nature. In the ancient woods of many parts of the country live the biggest population of wolves and bears in Europe. These predators have been roaming these same forests since before human beings ever set foot on the continent.
Of course, exploring such dramatic countryside can cause injuries, exposure, and exhaustion, which is why health insurance is vital to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay in Romania. Once the EHIC system comes to an end for UK citizens, any wise British visitor needs to make sure they make a Romania EHIC application before travelling. If you are a Romania UK Global Health Insurance Card Holder your trip will be worry-free.
Q: Is healthcare in Romania free?
A: Yes. Since 2015, Romanian citizens have had access to free and unrestricted healthcare whatever their needs, courtesy of the state healthcare service. In order to access this, Romanians pay into the national insurance scheme much like the UK’s. For Romania UK Global Health Insurance Card holders, this National Health Service is also free of charge.
Q: Can I replace my current EHIC with a Romania GHIC Card?
A: Yes. Thanks to the trade agreement between the UK and EU, a current Romania GHIC card is valid until its expiry date. After that, British travellers in Romania should have a replacement GHIC card to cover their in-country healthcare needs.
Q: Should I apply for a GHIC now?
A: Yes. The advice of the UK government is that anyone planning to travel abroad in 2021 should apply for the GHIC card. This not only covers countries in the EHIC scheme but many other foreign destinations. As Romania is part of the EU, and there is expected to be a high demand for travel after the Covid 19 pandemic is under control, anyone planning to travel to the country should apply for a Romania Health Insurance Card under GHIC as soon as possible. Visit Romania – GHIC.co.uk now to get the ball rolling.