UK residents who carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to reduced-cost or free medical treatment from state healthcare providers in any European Economic Area (EEA) country and Switzerland. A UK resident carrying the EHIC card will have access to the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the country they are visiting. However, many countries expect the patient to pay towards their treatment, and even with an EHIC, a UK resident might be expected to do the same. They may be able to seek reimbursement for this cost when they return UK if they are not able to do so in the other country. Each EEA country’s health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS, so it is worth checking the rules in the country you are travelling to.
This piece is looking at the cover an EHIC will offer in Spain and the Canary Islands. Before you consult a doctor or hospital in Spain or the Canary Islands, ensure that they accept your (EHIC). Some hospitals and health centres offer both, private and state-provided healthcare and it is up to you to inform them which services you require. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable and not covered by your EHIC. State-provided healthcare is free of charge, but be aware that hotels and tour operators generally call or recommend a private doctor who will charge you. They might reassure visitors that they can claim back whatever is paid out, but they are referring to private travel insurance and not the EHIC arrangements. It is also worth noting in some parts of the country, particularly the outlying islands, you may have to travel some distance to find a state healthcare provider. If you need to call out a doctor in an emergency, ask for state funded healthcare, and make sure you have your EHIC to hand to show, furthermore, if you are asked to pay up front, you are not being treated under the Spanish health service and you will not be able to claim back the money you have paid under the EHIC scheme. Dental treatment, even emergency dental treatment is generally not available under the state system in Spain and any costs are not refundable.
The EHIC is never a replacement for travel insurance, it will not pay to bring you home (repatriate you) if you cannot travel on a schedule airline. It is also worth noting that schedule airlines may refuse you travel if you have recently been discharged from hospital or may insist a doctor or nurse travel with you, at you own cost, this cost would not be covered by the EHIC either. It is particularly important to have travel insurance if you have a medical condition and it would be worth while looking for a specialist in travel insurance with medical conditions like Insurancewith, who have to mention a few, specialist cancer travel insurance, Breast cancer travel insurance, travel insurance policies people with diabetes and general medical conditions travel insurance, premiums are from as little as £16 for a short break in Spain.