British residents get new option for obtaining healthcare in Valencia

News Spain - Jan-Feb-2014

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British residents without access to state healthcare in Spain now have the opportunity to join the new Spanish health insurance scheme. The Valencia Government has just introduced the Convenio Especial, a scheme that is part of wide-ranging reforms to the health system announced last year. Martyn Standing, from the healthcare team at the British Consulate in Alicante, said: "This is great news. It means almost everyone who currently lacks the right to state healthcare can now get themselves covered. "We would urge people who are in need of health cover to sign-up. Waiting until you're ill before you sort out access to a doctor can easily result in an unwelcome bill."

The Convenio Especial is another option for people to obtain access to state healthcare if they currently lack the right to other forms of cover.

Details of the scheme:

·         To be eligible you must have been living in Spain for at least one year prior to applying – this is normally proven through being registered on the padrón

·         You cannot join if you already have the right to healthcare through other means - e.g. as a state pensioner

·         All applications must be made in writing to the Regional Health Authority – people cannot apply through their health centre

·         It costs €60 a month for working-age people; children must also be paid for in their own right as they are not included as dependants

·         People with pre-existing conditions can join – this insurance scheme gives full access to the state healthcare system

·         Pharmacy costs are additional – customers must pay 100% of the cost of any prescriptions. However medications given whilst someone is in hospital are free

·         The scheme does not currently provide the right to a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

More information can be found on the Valencian Government website here: www.gva.es/es/inicio/procedimientos?id_proc=17044&id_page=&id_site,

General information on healthcare in Spain, including the rights and entitlements of EHIC holders can be found here:http://www.healthcareinspain.eu/faq.php

Independent healthcare advice for British nationals in Spain can be found here: www.gov.uk/healthcare-in-spain.

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