The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) remains valid after Brexit after the UK government struck a deal with the EU last year, but Britons have been warned of potential difficulties.
According to a recent study by A Place in the Sun, in partnership with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department of Health and Social Care, over 46% of Britons were unaware that their EHIC still allowed them to have free access to health care in Spain or any other EU country.
It’s not just for expats living abroad, but also for Brits going on holiday.
Citizens can still use their EHIC card in hospitals and clinics in any EU country.
When the card expires, Britons can apply for the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which will provide the same access.
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A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care commented on the matter.
“The agreement we have reached with the European Union maintains flexibility for travelers to access healthcare in the EU and ensures that healthcare costs for certain groups, including eligible pensioners, are covered when traveling to these countries.”
Andy Bridge, Managing Director of A Place in the Sun, said:
“While UK nationals can now only spend 90 out of 180 days in Spain before needing to apply for a visa, this is a welcome clarification for holidaymakers, owners and potential buyers.”
However, Nigel Ayres, an expat living in Spain, explained that private insurance is essential, and getting one is the main problem Britons face when deciding to move abroad.
“The main potential difficulties when applying for residency are proving that you have sufficient funds in a Spanish bank account and obtaining a private health insurance policy.”
And he warned: ‘The requirement to have a private Spanish health insurance policy has been problematic for people with serious pre-existing conditions who may not be able to obtain cover.’
The obligation to obtain a visa to settle in Spain (with the non-profit visa) is currently set at €27,115.20 for an individual or €33,894 for a couple.
Nigel explained: “The other option is a Golden Visa which has a slightly lower income requirement but requires a €500,000 investment in property in Spain.”
One of the nonprofit visa requirements is to have private health insurance.
Applicants must have a private health insurance policy with full coverage in Spain by a Spanish insurance company for at least one year.