20 May, 2012 @ 12:20
1 min read

Understand the new health rules

By Antonio Flores

AN act was passed last month in a bid to clamp down on ‘medical tourism’ as reported in the Olive Press.

This new act reinstates the previous ‘merits’ system used for obtaining residents’ status.

It follows a report by the Spanish Auditors Tribunal which argued the ‘Spanish Health System is bearing the cost of health cover of people that already have it in other countries.’

It insisted this drain of resources was ‘seriously compromising the ability to make improvement to the service’ and called for a change in residency rules.

But what does this mean for expats?

The main points of this new law are as follows:

1.?A person from the EU or the European Economic Area has the right to become resident for more than three months if they are:
• Working in Spain, either salaried or self-employed.
• In receipt of enough income for themselves and family to not become a burden on the Spanish welfare system, and have adequate medical insurance. The Act states that when determining this amount the authorities will take into account the situation of the EU or EEA countries (some police stations are already telling pensioners they have to have a certificate from their bank managers stating they have a minimum pension of €423 paid monthly into their accounts).
• A student, with enough income and medical insurance.
• A family member of someone included in any of the above.
• On unemployment benefit and registered as a job-seeker.

2.?A non resident living in Spain legally will still be entitled to free medical assistance if they are:
• Working in Spain, either salaried or self-employed.
• Classed as a pensioner.
• On unemployment benefit.
• No longer on unemployment benefit but registered as a job-seeker.
• On an EU or EEA State Pension, long term incapacity benefit or bereavement benefit, and can prove it (using the S-1 form).

3. In the event that a foreigner is not included in any of the above categories, they will still be entitled to medical assistance if they earn below a minimum income, the amount of which will be determined by law.

4. Foreigners not registered nor authorised to be in Spain will only be entitled to emergency treatment in case of accident or disease, and assistance during pregnancy and when giving birth. Otherwise, they will have to pay for it.

5. Persons that have been enjoying medical assistance up to now will still be entitled until August 31, without needing to prove they have entitlement to it.

It remains to be seen how ‘those who do not qualify for free medical assistance’, will be dealt with, and how big the bill will be!

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. It’s a shame, (though not a surprise) that the Spanish government were not as keen to assess foreigner’s ability to pay when the banks were throwing mortgages around like confetti.

  2. The part on EU citizens mentions nothing about pensioners and their entitlement. Before rushing out to buy health insurance or be sold it by some shark you shold be aware that if you are permanantley resident in Spain and have informed the relevant department in the UK the British Government pays the Spanish government 3500 Euros per annum for your health care, that is for each person not family. Don’t let people kid you that you are getting something for nothing. Of course if you are one of those people who “live” in Spain but fly back to the UK every time you need a doctor then you may well find tht you require some form of health insurance for emergencies. If you want up to date info visit the British Embassy Madrid website. Don’t be out of pocket for the lack of CORRECT information and stay clear of Cafe lawyers.

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