Expat HealthThe Spanish Health Service
Spanish Health Service for Expats
If you and your family have recently moved to Spain or are preparing to do so, there are options available to you since the Spanish Health Service has a reciprocal agreement with the UK. However you cannot simply arrive in Spain without the required health cards in place and expect to receive treatment as you could in the UK with the NHS.
The options available are as follows, which one you choose will depend on your own personal circumstances:
- EHIC – (European Healthcare Insurance Card)
- S1 Certificate (Replaces existing E106 / E121 forms)
Below you will find all the details and information required for each option.
European Healthcare Insurance Card
The better-known E111 health card was replaced by the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) in January 2006. The current EHIC card allows you to receive emergency treatment when you are visiting other European countries and as such can be used temporarily in Spain, however it cannot be used to provide continuing treatment and cannot be used if you are a permanent resident in Spain.
Please note that if you have children, then they will also need to be included in your application with each member your family receiving their own EHIC card. All EHIC cards are valid for 5 years at which time they will need to be renewed.
(Replaces existing E106 / E121 forms)
Should you be relocating from the UK to Spain and you have not yet reached the official retirement age, one option is to apply for an S1 certificate (formerly E106). Upon receipt of this certificate, you will be entitled to a maximum of 2 years of treatment on a reciprocal arrangement, dependant on your UK contribution history. However, it is not unusual for Expats to experience some delays in receiving these certificates and for this reason many decide that it is simply easier to take out private health insurance.
After 3 Months
There is a further consideration to take into account, which is that once you have moved from the UK for a period of 3 months, then if you have also been issued an S1 certificate, you are not entitled to use the NHS free of charge unless you can prove that you are returning permanently to the UK. At the same time, once the period of entitlement in Spain expires, you will not then receive free medical treatment in Spain either.
Replaces the existing E121
It is also important for you to know that the new S1 certificate also replaces the existing E121 form for pensioners moving to Spain and entitles you to treatment through the Spanish medical system.
Where to Apply for the S1 certificate?
Registering for healthcare in Spain?
It is possible to register yourself in the Spanish Health Service, there are a number of steps required, including being a legal resident in Spain as well as making social security contributions as a result of undertaking paid employment in Spain.
As a result, it is very common for Expats to take out private medical insurance, not just for the medical care itself, but also for ambulance and dental services as well. If you think that you may fall into this category, it would be wise to take insurance sooner rather than later, so that you do not risk being uninsurable for medical problems which arise over the course of time.
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