Changes to Spanish healthcare system
Changes to Spanish healthcare system means British pensioners contribute to prescription charges
British pensioners living in Spain are now required to pay towards the cost of their prescriptions under changes to the public healthcare system introduced by the Spanish government.
One of the changes means that all state pensioners who are registered for healthcare in Spain as residents must now pay a percentage towards the cost of their medicines. The contribution for state pensioners has been set at 10% of the cost, with a cap of as low as eight euros per month depending on personal income.
How much a pensioner must pay depends on personal circumstances. If you need more information you can contact your local health service provider directly, who should be able to give you detailed information on the prescription charges. This system of ‘co-payment’ – paying a percentage of the total cost of medicines – is common among European countries and has been applied to those classed as ‘active’ in Spain, i.e. those normally considered to be of working-age, for some time.
Under European Union regulations, the UK pays Spain an average annual cost to provide healthcare for its pensioners. This entitles UK pensioners who are resident in Spain and registered with an S1/E121 form to the same access to state healthcare as would be provided to a Spanish pensioner.
As a result, any healthcare changes that are applicable to Spanish state pensioners are equally applicable to all UK state pensioners, as well as those from other EU/EEA countries. These include any costs that someone may be charged, including those for prescriptions.
The system for co-payment is being managed by each individual autonomous community, so the process may differ slightly between regions. For those in the Valencia autonomous community, a freephone helpline has been set up which has English speakers available. The telephone number is 900 101 081 .
You can find out more information and check for future updates on changes on public healthcare provision on the UKinSpain website at http://ukinspain.fco.gov.uk/en/help-for-british-nationals/living-in-spain/access-healthcare/healthcare/healthcare-updates .