Access to FREE Health Care in Spain if resident (under 65 years old)
Posted: 31 October 2012 08:43 PM  
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If you were registered as a resident in Spain before 24th April 2012 you are entitled to access to free healthcare, even if you are not working now. You need to get a letter from the Overseas Healthcare Team in Newcastle stating that you do not have the right to treatment in the UK because you are resident in Spain. You can call the OHT on 0044 191 218 1999 and ask for the letter to be sent to you in Spanish.

 

I have not been able to qualify this statement as yet, but I will give any updates if I get an answer.

It seems I was given the run-around for the past six years, and it ‘might have been true’ that I was entitled to
free healthcare here even though I was unable to work.  (My own situation is I have had to have private medical
insurance since being injured in an RTA in 2007 and was signed off sick from work, followed by redundancy:  but had only paid
in for 12 months Social Security as a contract worker, but 5 years as Autonomo prior to that (The co I worked for illegally employed me as autonomo year on year - even though a regular job. And apparently at that time autonomo contributions did not cover me for any future access to Health Care, only the contributions whilst a contracted employee.)

I was refused treatment/to see a Doctor at the clinic where I had been a patient for 5 years exactly one year after signing
on as unemployed. DESPITE enquiring with Newcastle, Brit Consulate, Trabajadora Social and Social Security office direct.
ALL told me I was no longer entitled.

I am still reeling from shock if all this time I could have had free healthcare, and reduced cost prescriptions. (I have to have regular expensive medication and I have to pay full price over the counter. I have spent thousands in the past six years!)

NB The statement above is referring to anyone under retirement age (65 years in Spain.)

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Posted: 31 October 2012 08:46 PM  
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NB The source that provided this information did not qualify if one had to be a Spanish Citizen, but they implied not.
(I was under the impression that one can apply for Citizenship after 10 years of permanent residency.  You then are entitled to the same healthcare/other things and are treated the same as a native Spaniard. But this thread is about any Ex Pat under 65 years but is resident here, no time limit, other than you registered before 24th April 2012.)

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Posted: 06 November 2012 04:51 PM  
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I have been ‘advised’ this is the phone no in Newcastle to phone….

0044 191 2181999

Phoned Newcastle, call took less than 5 minutes, the lady was very informative, she is posting a letter for me and one for the wife in both English and Spanish to take to the local health authorities here. The letters would be posted to us today so we should have them in 7 to 10 days.

I have not been through this process personally - nor do I know if it works (still waiting for update on poster above)
It seems incredible to me that i have had to pay private for past 6yrs when it could have been free???
But then again no - this is Spain after all.

I think I am right? That Valencia/Alicante health authorities have been stopping the under 65’s from free health care - esp for past few years… even though ‘in theory’ we were covered???

The whole thing is just confusing me! :(

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Posted: 06 November 2012 05:18 PM  
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OK pleae update us further when you receive the letter.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 12:59 PM  
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Decided to obtain my letter from the Overseas Healthcare team and yes the number is 0044 191 218 1999 - got straight through and the young guy was very helpful and well trained (he even understood a complicated Spanish address) have your UK NI number available.

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Posted: 08 November 2012 08:05 PM  
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Robi - ^ can you enlighten anymore?
This was brought to light by someone who had been working here, then lost their job, their paro finished, and they were then turned away from the medical center after a few months.

Are Newcastle saying that with this certificate/letter one is still entitled to free healthcare even though our contributions have run out?

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Posted: 08 November 2012 09:00 PM  
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To be honest as someone who has prided themselves on ‘never losing the plot’ (as my 100s of post hopefully testify) this whole situation does seem to be getting very confusing.
Obviously given the difficult financial situation (el crisis) we all know the Spanish are anxious to reduce their spend on healthcare. (We have the pharmacys on strike here in Alicante region as they have not been paid) here we have SIPs cards to gain access to healthcare and many of these have been withdrawn as many were issued to persons who were not entitled (primarily early retirees) but of course some genuine people appear to have been caught up in this purge.

The following is based on British entitlements and may or may not apply to other EU citizens - non EU should research for their entitlements-
As I (think) I understand it - Full pensioners are covered, those working on legal contracts where their employer makes social security payments for them are covered (one working member in the household covers all the family) those self-employed (autonomo) and making their payments are covered, also early retirees will have a period of cover based on their UK contributions but need to apply via S1 form.

Those who become unemployed, redundant etc need to make enquiries at the Spanish INSS offices -because entitlements will vary depending on duration of work, whether self-employed etc.

After further research from an article in The Leader newspaper -if persons were resident and registered (residencia) in Spain before April 24th 2012 and they are early retirees (and so don’t automatically have cover) and are very low income - they will qualify for health care if they produce ‘the Newcastle letter’ obtainable as per above because they no longer qualify for UK cover as they are not UK resident.

Those arriving after 24-4-12 now of course have to prove income levels and plans for health cover - again no problem for pensioners or for those working.

I now realise that in fact the Newcastle letterv probably does apply to me as the Spanish will say I am not low income but it still might be useful to have.

As usual doubtless interpretations will vary across Spanish regions - but I suggest those confused contact the INSS or UK Healthcare team and also see here
http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-spain/access-healthcare/healthcare/#early

The RTN also covered here see page 8
http://www.roundtownnews.com/online-paper/item/39395-rtn-south-edition-681.html

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Posted: 15 November 2012 01:58 PM  
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See the David Searl legal column in todays EWN paper - He says you can apply for health cover by filling out a Social Security for TA1 - providing you are legally resident (and I assume before the dates mentioned above) and do have an annual income in excess of 100,000€.

Anybody got any recent experience of obtaining Spanish healthcare cover?

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Posted: 18 November 2012 05:03 PM  
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@ Rob et all

I’m afraid the problem is that UK did NOT sign the Schengen agreement. If any of you speaks fluent English I can post the law approved last April by the Spanish Government. Since then there have been many amendments: the original law *excluded* from free health care also *Spanish people over 26* as well as *all foreigners, legal or illegal*, who were not tributing to Social Security.

For the time being, those who are entitled to free health care are:

- Spanish working people and pensioners
- foreign permanent residents who are paying Social Security as employees or self employed
- foreign pensioners coming from Countries (mainly EU Schengen area) who have signed a mutual agreement with Spain
- foreigner coming from EU Countries, who have the European Health Care card which entitles them to 3 months per year free health care (Spain should get paid by the country of origin) (*)
- EU Schengen foreigners who are permanent residents and pay taxes in Spain, though they don’t work (**)

Illegal foreigners will be entitled *only* to emergency medical attention ... and if doctors estimate their case is not an emergency, the hospital can charge the patient the relevant amount.

Honestly it’s a bl**dy mess. And it’s true that the application of the law varies depending on the comunidad where you’re residing. Cataluña and the Valencian Community are amongst those who striktly apply the law and try and give as little as possible for free.  confused Besides many local governments are trying to privatize most hospitals, which is causing a lot of strikes from doctors and all workers in the health care system. Although doctors and nurses would go on being public employees (but until when?!), the resy is going to be privatized as of Dec. 31st, 2012. This is happening in the Valencian Community, where I live (Alicante).

@ Susan

I am Italian, Italy signed the Schengen agreement and when I moved here in 2000 I was forced to get private insurance to obtain the tarjeta de residencia and residency. However since 2003 I have access to the national helth care, I decided to keep the private insurance till I was able to pay for it. Now I am glad I did. Since December 2011 doctors’ wages have been heavily reduced, and the number of paid extra hours have been limited. As a surgeon recently told me, she was willing to work very long hours when she was paid for it, but is not doing it now that it could be for free, no matter the gravity of the patient situation. Besides a recent TV reportage showed that now the average waiting time to get an appointment to a specialist doctor through the national health service is 125 days ... more than enough to die there and then if your case is a urgent one.


(*) there are rumors (not confirmed, but still ...) that this too might change, since Spain is still waiting to be paid over 1 million € for assistance to foreign residents from Schengen countries

(**) same rumours for those foreigner coming fron Schengen countries, like myself, who are not working since there are no jobs available (even for Spaniards: unemployment rate is already over 25% and expected to be 26% in 2013)

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Posted: 18 November 2012 05:14 PM  
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Here an article publishe on ABC newspaper in August with the most recent amendments to the law:

http://www.abc.es/20120803/sociedad/abci-quien-tiene-derecho-tarjeta-201208031305.html

A los extranjeros les bastará con comprarse una casa para acceder a una sanidad gratuita?

No. La norma establece los mecanismos para acabar con el «turismo sanitario» y el uso fraudulento de los servicios de salud de los ciudadanos extranjeros, la mayoría procedentes de países europeos ricos. Cuando residan en España deberán demostrar que no son una carga para nuestro país y no se sufragará la asistencia sanitaria de los europeos que ya la tienen cubierta en su país, bien por sus instituciones de seguridad social en los países de orgien, bien por sus seguros privados. Se les prestará la misma atención y se les exigirá los mismos requisitos que se les exige a los españoles cuando se trasladan a otro país de la Unión Europea. El Gobierno estima que ahorrará unos mil millones de euros al año con estas medidas.

Foreigners will just need to buy a home to be granted free health assistance?

NO. This regulation is meant to stop the “medical tourism” and the fraudolent use of free health service from foreigners, many of them coing from rich European countries. When they become Spanish residents they’ll be required to prove they are not a burden for Spain and free health asisstance will not be granted to those Europeans who already get it in their country of origin, through either their national health service or private medical insurances. Foreigners will receive the same medical assistance and will be requested the same requirements that their country of origin requires to Spaniards becoming resident in other European Union countries. The Government estimates to save up various million € with this new health system.

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Posted: 18 November 2012 05:15 PM  
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This regulation is meant to stop the “medical tourism” and the fraudolent use of free health service from foreigners, many of them coMing from rich European countries

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Posted: 05 January 2013 04:25 PM  
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I myself went yesterday to our local INSS office and have obtained healthcare cover in Spain. I am an early retiree and EU citizen - also I have spoken to several people who have recently successfully applied for their SIP card. (Name of health card in Valencia region)

To qualify (and remember if you are an OAP or working legitimately in Spain you and your household are already covered) if you are a non-working early retiree resident in Spain, you will need to produce the following up todate and valid documents:
-  Residencia with NIE
-  Padron
-  Passport
-  Spanish Social Security Number
-  Spanish Tax return
-  Letter from UK DWP stating the entitlement to UK healthcare has expired due to non residency in UK (obtainable from DWP on 0044 191 218 1999 as per earlier posts)

In the Spanish INSS office nearest to you.

The INSS officer should then process your request and issue you with a form, which you then take to your local health centre for them to issue the actual SIP card. Although initially it may only be a ‘floppy’ plastic temporary one and they will advise you when the permanent rigid plastic version can be collected.

Those earning in excess of 100,000€ are exempt on a means tested basis and also you need to have been resident in Spain prior to April 24th 2012.

But if in doubt take all of your papers (inc the DWP letter) and make an application.

For more
http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-spain/access-healthcare/healthcare/healthcare-updates

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