16 Jul, 2019 @ 15:00
1 min read

British companies accused of charging Spain-bound tourists for medical insurance already covered by EHIC cards

A TOTAL of 15 British companies have been accused of charging Spain-bound tourists for medical insurance already covered by the European Health Insurance Card.

The insurance cover can cost ‘up to €133’ per person for an already free service, according to Spanish private healthcare alliance ASPE.

ASPE complained last week that around 800 British tourists are turning up in private hospitals across Spain each day without proper insurance.

“These companies are charging for assistance they are not providing,” said David Medina, member of the board of directors of ASPE.

Medina added the insurance companies are offering patients with pre-existing conditions cheap policies as a ‘trick’ to win their cash.

The situation gambles with the health of British tourists, but is also harming the Spanish private healthcare system.

“If patients have a serious urgency, we have to take care of them until we stabilise them, at the very least,” Carlos Rus, general secretary of ASPE, said last week.

“But we then have to shoulder those expenses, and it’s very difficult to reclaim that money.

“Many times we also end up paying the costs for transferring a patient to a public hospital.”

The association estimates that each patient on a ‘fraudulent’ scheme costs a private hospital €4,000.

With 800 patients turning up each day, the damage is more than €3,000,000 to the private healthcare system per day.

ASPE already denounced the practice in 2016, urging companies to ‘put in writing’ exactly which services tourists are entitled to.

The association has now released a list of the 15 companies accused of continuing the fraud, including:

Ok To Travel
Insure Pink
Suretravel Citybond
Covered 2 Go
Good to Go
All Clear Traveler
Alpha Travel
ERV Medi-Care
Leisurecare Multi-traveller X5
World First Traveller
Get going Travel Insurance

A Staysure spokesman refuted the accusations.

He told the Olive Press: “We do in fact cover for treatment in private hospitals if an emergency situation requires it.

“If we were to take the decision to move a customer to a public hospital, it would only happen once we receive medical approval there would be no implications to his or her health.”

A spokesperson for AllClear Traveller also said: “With reference to the AllClear Traveller product exclusion for medical emergency expenses at private hospitals in Spain, I can confirm that this exclusion was removed in 2016 after a change of insurer.”

Joshua Parfitt

Joshua James Parfitt is the Costa Blanca correspondent for the Olive Press. He holds a gold-standard NCTJ in multimedia journalism from the award-winning News Associates in Twickenham. His work has been published in the Sunday Times, Esquire, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the Sun, the Sun on Sunday, the Mirror, among others. He has appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss devastating flooding in Spain, as well as making appearances on BBC and LBC radio stations.

Contact me now: [email protected] or call +44 07960046259. Twitter: @jjparfitt

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