How to obtain a European Health Insurance Card in Spain

Getting your European Health Insurance Card in Spain is very easy.  So many British expats in Spain are registered in the local social security system and pay for private medical insurance on top because they need medical cover while they are travelling within Europe and believe private medical insurance is the only way.  (This does not however replace any necessity for travel insurance which is always recommended)  Did you know that you can get a European Health Insurance Card (commonly known as EHIC) very easily?  MizzFixit received an enquiry recently from a lady who travelled to Belgium where she had an accident and ended up having to pay a hospital bill of over 600euros.  She actually had a Spanish Social Security card but not the European Health Card, which would have meant that she would have received the treatment free of charge.  MizzFixit immediately helped her get one so that she could avoid this happening again.

Getting your European Health Card in Spain is very easy.  It is called a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea or TSE  and replaces the old style E111 form.  It usually involves a telephone call to the local Social Security office who will give you an appointment.  You then show up with your ID documentation (NIE certificate, passport and copies thereof), they fill in a form for you and you should receive your card in a few days.  Just mention to them if your date of departure is imminent and they will even give you a ‘cover note’ in case your European Health Insurance Card does not arrive in time.  If you have an accident or require urgent medical treatment anytime during your travels to Europe, then you just go along to your local hospital with your TSE and they will take care of everything.  The appointment system may vary according to whichever province you are in, but certainly getting your European Health Card in Marbella it is very easy.  At the time of writing this post (May 2012), the European Health Insurance Card is valid for 2 years and you can travel as many times as you like, but please ensure that your date of return is before the expiry of the card.

The European Health Insurance Card may not be used for treatment in Spain itself – that would be your normal Spanish Social Security Card, but may be used in all the following countries for urgent medical treatment:

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, UK, Czech Republic, Rumania, Sweden and Switzerland.  Note that if your passport is not from one of the above countries (or Spanish), then you will not be entitled to receive treatment in Denmark, Switzerland, Leichtenstein, Iceland or Norway.

It is not transferable and so you will need to get one for each member of your family travelling.

Remember that the European Health Insurance Card will only cover you for emergency treatment.  If your reason for travel, is for medical treatment in another country, then you need to apply to your Spanish Social Security office for approval and authorisation to do this.

Many people will feel daunted about the process, but if you are registered with the Spanish Social Security system, then it is your right to receive this.  If it’s just too much of a hassle, then please contact MizzFixit and she’ll give  you a helping hand – that’s what she’s here for.

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