European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card explained

British expats will undoubtedly welcome the news that European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) will continue to be accepted. However, there are some things you need to know.

Since the UK officially left the EU, topics such as healthcare rights have left expats confused.

In this article, we look at healthcare rights in Spain, and the wider EU as things currently stand.


The European Health Insurance Card

The annual HSBC Expat Explorer Report rated Spain as one of the top five expat destinations globally. The country has also long been a popular destination for British expats. 

However, since the UK left the EU, there has been some confusion. 

One area, in particular, is access to healthcare. For British expats, the topic seems to be a genuine concern. But is their concern unnecessary? It could be according to recent findings.

A Place in the Sun carried out a study in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Their research showed that 46% were unaware that their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was still valid. This means that nearly half of those surveyed thought that their access to free healthcare had gone after the UK left the EU.

Although EHICs are still valid, they are being replaced by the UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC). Although the name is changing, the UK GHIC provides the same access as the EHIC.

You can apply for the UK GHIC up to six months before your existing EHIC expires. For more information or to apply for one, you can visit the dedicated NHS page.

However, you need to be aware that the UK GHIC/EHIC have their limitations.


Limitations – expat health insurance in Spain

What treatments and services the UK GHIC/EHIC covers will differ from country to country. 

The European Commission’s website has a detailed list of what services the cards cover in each country.

However, you should be aware that the cards do not cover every situation. For example, treatment at a private facility and medical repatriation are not covered.

For this reason, it is important that you are fully covered.

Finding the right expat health insurance in Spain is essential, especially for those permanently relocating. Having the right insurance in place can bring peace of mind should you ever need it.


Next steps

Are you a British expat looking to move to Spain? If so, our Moving to Spain Guide has all of the information you need to get started.

A permanent move abroad is a big decision, so make sure you are fully prepared.

Our expert team of advisers are on hand to help you make the most of your expat experience. Whether it’s financial planning or finding the right cover for you and your family, Holborn can help.

For more information or to find out how we can help you, contact us using the form below.

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