WHAT YOUR E.H.I.C CARD COVERS YOU FOR IN SPAIN
THE SPANISH HEALTH CARE SERVICE WHEN ON HOLIDAY
NEW RULES AND REGULATIONS TO USING THE EHIC FROM JULY 2014
What does this mean for me?
If you visit another EEA country where that country requires its own citizens to pay a patient contribution, (SPAIN) you will also need to pay for this.
You will no longer be able to claim reimbursement for this payment when you return to the UK for treatment received after July 1 2014.
You may still be able to claim reimbursements for any co-payments you made for treatment received abroad before July 1 2014, however.
Your EHIC still entitles you to receive medical treatment that becomes necessary during your trip, and you will be treated on the same basis as a resident of the country you are visiting.
State-provided healthcare is generally free of charge. However, in some parts of the country, particularly the outlying islands, you may have to travel some distance to find a state healthcare provider. If you need to call out a doctor in an emergency, make sure you have a valid EHIC and ask for state-funded healthcare.
Some hospitals and health centres (centro de salud) offer both private (privado) and state-provided healthcare (asistencia sanitaria pública) and it is up to you to inform them which service you require. They may also often have separate surgery times for private patients and those treated under the state system.
Generally, if you are asked to pay upfront, you are not being treated under the Spanish health service and your EHIC will not be accepted.
Important: your EHIC does not cover private treatment. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.
You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private insurance and not the treatment given under the EHIC.
It’s always advisable to have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Repatriation for medical treatment is not covered by the EHIC.
Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund or reimbursement.
Dental treatment is not covered by the public healthcare system unless it’s an emergency. Most emergency departments or health centres have a dentist attached that can deal with dental emergencies.
Just like in the UK, you’ll need to be referred by a doctor for any hospital treatment. Make sure you are referred to a public hospital as only these provide treatment free of charge. Again, even in a public hospital ensure you have a valid EHIC and double-check you are not treated as a private patient. In public healthcare facilities, you have the right to insist your EHIC is accepted. You do not have to provide travel insurance details unless you choose to do so.
You can take your prescription to any pharmacy (farmacia) in Spain. They can be identified by a green cross.There are prescription charges in Spain. When using your EHIC, people of working age are charged 50% and pensioners are charged about 10%. Pensioners will have to declare they are in receipt of a State Pension in order to pay the lower rate.
Prescription charges are non-refundable.
If you are told by a hospital that you require medicine following your discharge, you must take the hospital medical report to a doctor, who will give you a prescription. This is because doctors in public hospitals will prescribe medicines on the appropriate medical report but do not issue official prescriptions.
Bringing your own medicines to Spain
If you have a condition that requires you to bring your own medicines to Spain, you should have a letter from you GP stating what the medicines are and why you need them. If possible, have the letter translated into Spanish, as this will also be useful in case you need to see a health professional during your stay.
If any of your medicines fall into the controlled drugs category, you need to comply with regulations on drugs exports in the UK. In addition, you’ll need to apply for the Spanish import license at your nearest Spanish consulate with the following documentation:
- license for exportation of controlled drugs
- full name, current address and contact telephone number of applicant or drug unit
- flight details, dates and destination address in Spain
- fax number or address details to send the Spanish Import License once received from Spain
Making healthcare arrangements in advance
Although your EHIC covers the provision of oxygen, renal dialysis and routine medical care, you’ll have to arrange and pre-book medical treatment before you go. You should always consult your GP or hospital before travelling. Also ensure you are not booked with a private healthcare provider, as these are not covered by the EHIC.
Ensure your EHIC is valid before you travel. You will have to use the authorised oxygen company for the country you are travelling to.If you need to receive oxygen therapy during a temporary visit to Spain, you must request it in advance inwriting from the Spanish authorities. You should send this request at least one month before you are due to travel.
Oxygen therapy needs to be arranged directly with the Spanish authorities. Visit the oxygen page on www.healthcareinspain.eu,where a list of contacts and a template letter in Spanish is provided to help
you make the arrangements.
Once you have sent the oxygen request directly to the Spanish authorities, it is your responsibility to then
follow up with the relevant oxygen provider to confirm your request has been processed.
The British Lung Foundation BLF) may have additional oxygen contacts for the country you are travelling
to. Their website offers general advice about how to make travel arrangements, including advice on:
- travelling abroad with a lung condition
- airline oxygen policies
Ensure you allow plenty of time to make all your arrangements before you travel.
You should speak to the co-ordinator in your UK dialysis unit before you travel. They will contact the dialysis unit in Spain nearest to where you will be staying. The provision of dialysis will be subject to availability in Spain. The Renal Association website has a list of renal units in the UK.
Ensure you make your arrangements according to your UK schedule. Also, there may be different guidance depending on what type of dialysis you receive. Make sure you speak to your doctor before you travel. In addition, visit the National Kidney Federation website, which offers general advice about travelling with a kidney disease, as well as specific guidance for haemodialysis patients, peritoneal dialysis patients and guidelines for transplant patients.
Any other specialist treatment
If you need to receive any other specialist treatment, such as chemotherapy or other prescriptions,
again it may be advisable to make arrangements for this in advance of your trip. Certain areas of Spain receive a large number of long-term visitors per year, which can mean high demand for certain services. Although you are not obliged to make arrangements for treatment in advance of your trip, not doing somay result in delays when you need to access treatment.
And incidentally the current daily rate for 24 hours in the intensive care departmet at Villajoiosa hospital….. was just under 1500€, (and we’ve never heard of anybody getting away with just a one day stay in intensive care!)
If you are already in Spain without an EHIC and you need a doctor, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) from the Overseas Healthcare Team. You (or the billing department at the local health centre or state-run hospital) can request this by sending an email to OVERSEAS.HEALTHCARE@DWP.GSI.GOV.UK with the following information:
- Full name;
- Date of Birth;
- National Insurance number;
- Dates of hospital treatment (including admission and discharge);
- Email address of the hospital billing department (“facturación” – if you are requesting the PRC yourself).
or call 00441912181999 option 1 and they will be given an emergency EHIC number!
WHERE TO GO AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IN BENIDORM
If you find yourself in a serious, life-threatening emergency, you should call 112. This number is free of charge and valid in all Spanish territories. The Spanish word for A&E department is “urgencias”. Other important phone numbers to note down: •112 or 061 – ambulance (ambulancia) •091 – national police (policía nacional) •092 – local police (policía municipal) •062 – civil guard (guardia civil) •080 – fire brigade (bomberos) •900 202 202 – sea rescue (salvamento y seguridad marítima)
If you feel you need medical treatment the best place to go is and the main clinic in Benidorm, The Centro de Salud which is opposite the Gallowgate Bar, next to the Eurochange Tabacos)…. You must have with you your EHIC card and your passport and any travel insurance documents you have, you will not be seen without these, I have seen people in the ambulance ready to be taken to the relevant hospital but the drivers will not go anywhere unless they have seen this paperwork. Once you have been seen by the duty doctor they will decide on your treatment, your insurance or lack of will determin which hospital you go to, if you only have your EHIC card you will be taken to the general hospital which is closer to Villa Joyosa, if you have full travel insurance you will be taken to Levante Hospital (in Benidorm) There are lots of other private clinics in Benidorm some of these will treat you themselves or you will be directed to either Clinica Benidorm or Levante hospital you need insurance because you will be charged.