British citizens in Spain urged to make correct use of European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs)
Posted: 20 February 2013 03:23 PM  
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A campaign to explain how British citizens in Spain should use UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) has been launched by the UK Department of Health and the Valencia Health Authority.

The EHIC Campaign aims to greatly raise awareness among British citizens and Spanish healthcare staff in the Valencia Autonomous Community over the next 15 months. The innovative partnership between a UK government department and a Spanish regional authority has been recognised by the European Union, which is funding the campaign.

Launching the campaign in Alicante, David Pennington, Head of the Department of Health’s International Healthcare team, said:

“Many British citizens living in Spain are confused about how to access state healthcare and many use their EHIC cards when they should be accessing healthcare in another way. This campaign explains who can use a UK-issued EHIC and what it’s for. It also tells people about other ways to access state healthcare in Spain, depending on their circumstances.”

What you should know about the UK European Health Insurance Card

The UK European Health Insurance Card should only be used to access medically-necessary state treatment during the course of a temporary stay in Spain. It does not provide access to all state treatment but for those in Spain on a temporary stay, it is the correct way to access state healthcare.

However British citizens who live mainly in Spain should change the way they are registered, because for them the UK European Health Insurance Card is not the correct form of health cover. The new EHIC marketing and advertising campaign will explain how to do this.

The campaign will also explain to the administrative staff of the Valencia Health Authority how the UK covers its citizens in Spain and how the UK reimburses Spain for the cost of medical care provided to British citizens.

British citizens can find comprehensive information on the use of EHICs at http://www.healthcareinspain.eu.  An extensive radio and newspaper advertising campaign will further promote the correct use of EHICs, and leaflets will be distributed through health centres and at public events.

There will be 18 public talks, starting in Denia on 27th February and in Orihuela Costa on 28th February. More details can be found on the http://www.healthcareinspain.eu website.

Some two million British tourists visit the Valencia region every year and there are an estimated 300,000 British residents in the region, some 40% of the total in Spain. Although the campaign is centered on Valencia, much of the information is relevant to British citizens across Spain.


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Posted: 20 February 2013 04:37 PM  
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ukinspain…

Can you please clarify the situation regarding the issue of an EHIC card for those who are normally resident in Spain but visiting the uk for say three months. It is my understanding that registration with the Spanish Health Authority using a Form S1, precludes and automatically removes the right to UK Health care.

It is also my understanding that Spain no longer issues EHIC cards to Brits living over here and that application has to be made to Newcastle for a UK issued EHIC to provide for health cover during UK visits.

If one already has a valid dated UK issued EHIC is it necessary to reapply or can the existing Card be used to access the NHS during such visits?

Please clarify…

Thanks

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Posted: 21 February 2013 03:23 PM  
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Hi Foxbat - see what the experts say but in the meantime - with all due respect, I think your questions are a little ambiguous because it depends on a persons status for the answer to your questions.

ie I am a Brit fully resident in Spain. Because my healthcare is paid and provided by the Spanish system they issue my Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (Spanish EHIC)

Surely the bottom line is (since the last major overhaul of the system) the country paying for the healthcare also issues the card so that person has access to emergency health treatment when travelling within EU.

Card Validity periods vary - Spain’s is 2 years the UK’s is 5 years, obviously EU legislation allowed each country discretion on this point.

Anyway, hope this helps but probably does not answer everything.

I assume their campaign is aimed at stamping out abuse, especially since there seems to have been a UK-Spain row about its use according to the press in recent reports.

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Posted: 21 February 2013 04:49 PM  
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Rob Hi…

‘twas this that prompted the enquiry…

http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/EHIC/Pages/EUregulations.aspx

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Posted: 21 February 2013 07:12 PM  
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Hi Foxbat - I think the EHIC is nearly as confusing as Driving Licences! Let’s hope their new initiative and road shows help resolve the issues.

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