If you are moving to Spain it should be noted that you are not covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as this is for temporary visitors only.
At the end of last year Britain’s Department of Health was so concerned over Brits living in Spain without having registered properly with the correct authorities for health care that they produced a video entitled ‘Moving to Spain? Think about Healthcare!’
One of the issues that was highlighted is that the process to register can take weeks and therefore any need for medical treatment in the interim can work out very expensive. Once registered though Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world. In order to use the public healthcare system in Spain you will first need to register on the municipal register, only then will you be able to obtain a social security card. Once you have your social security card you can get your medical card at your local clinic which will enable you to use the public health network nationwide. Spain also offers a pay-in scheme which allows access to state healthcare. Spain also has a large number of private health care facilities and this is a preferred option for more choice of treatments and less queues, although it should be noted that depending on the requirement for treatment this can become expensive and health insurance should be considered.
It is not only treatment whilst in Spain that should concern expats, due to recent clamp downs on what is known as ‘health tourism’, expats returning home for visits for example to the UK expecting treatment by the NHS may find themselves being turned away. European arrangements state that EU citizens should seek healthcare in the country where they are ordinarily resident as healthcare is not dependent on nationality or national insurance contributions. Even if you are visiting the home and fall ill you are not entitled to free treatment, therefore unless you have an EHIC card or proper insurance medical bills can become very costly.
Whatever the country that you are moving to it is always important to investigate health care thoroughly before setting off as it is often too late to make arrangements once you have already fallen ill or had an accident that requires treatment.
For more information please contact us