‘Problematic’: Expats in Spain granted healthcare access but Brit warns of ‘difficulty’

Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert

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European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) continues to be valid after the UK Government secured an agreement with the EU last year but Britons have been warned of the potential difficulties.

According to a recent study by A Place in the Sun, in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and Department of Health and Social Care, over 46 percent of Britons were not aware their EHIC still enables them to have free access to healthcare in Spain or any other EU country.

This is not only for expats living abroad, but also for Britons going on holiday.

People can still use their EHIC cards at hospitals and clinics in any EU country.

When the card expires, Britons can apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will provide the same access.

However, it is recommended Britons also get private insurance when they travel to another country.

That is because the EHIC or GHIC does not cover every situation.

European Health Insurance Card won’t cover private treatments or medical repatriation.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson commented on the matter.

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“The agreement we have made with the European Union continues the flexibility for travellers accessing healthcare in the EU and ensures the costs of healthcare for certain groups including eligible pensioners are covered when they move to those countries.

Andy Bridge, the Managing Director of A Place in the Sun, said:

“Although British nationals can only now spend 90 out of 180 days in Spain before having to apply for a visa, this is welcome clarification to holidaymakers, homeowners and would be property buyers.”

Nigel Ayres, an expat living in Spain explained that private insurance is essential, and getting it is one of the main problem Briton face when they decide to move abroad.

“The main potential difficulties when applying for residence is proving you have sufficient funds in a Spanish bank account and obtaining a private health insurance policy.”

And he warned: “The requirement to have a private Spanish health insurance policy has been problematic for those with serious pre-existing conditions who may not be able to get cover.”

The requirement to get a visa to move to Spain (with the non lucrative visa) is currently set at €27,115.20 for an individual or €33,894 for a couple.

Nigel explained: “The other option is a Golden Visa which has a slightly lower income requirement but requires an investment of €500,000 in property in Spain.”

One of the requirements of the non-lucrative visa is having private health insurance.

Applicants must have a private health insurance policy with full coverage in Spain by a Spanish insurance company for at least one year.

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