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Who is entitled?

Until a new agreement is made following the UK's withdrawal from Europe anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK can be covered for emergency care using the European Health Card (EHIC) which is valid up to 31/12/20. This card is for emergency treatment only and normal travel insurance should be obtained in addition.

The quickest and easiest way to get a European Health Insurance Card (credit card sized plastic document) is to apply online although it is possible to apply by phone.


Tel: 0300 330 1350

People who are working and paying social security in Spain are entitled to a similar medical cover as in the UK via the Spanish health system using a SIP card.  

What is covered if you have a SIP card?

The treatments covered are those which are generally provided free in the UK, but not all GP, dental or ophthalmic treatment. You will also have to pay for your prescriptions unless a pensioner.

Residents not entitled to the use of the healthcare system should arrange adequate medical insurance. This can be obtained from a Spanish company or from an international insurer, and an average an annual policy will cost around 600 pounds. This will of course depend on age and any existing medical problems.

UK Pensioners

UK pensioners can apply in the UK for an S1 which gives you reciprocal health care in Spain but obviously this could change post Dec 20.

Scheme for Obtaining Healthcare for British Residents

The Regional Health Authority in Valencia has a scheme for obtaining healthcare. Under its Convenio Especial British residents without access to state provided healthcare (SIP) now can join the new Spanish health insurance scheme.

We would urge people who need 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.”

Requirements of the Scheme:

  • You must be able to prove actual residence in Spain for a minimum continuous period of one year immediately preceding the date of application – this is normally proven through being registered on the padrón.
  • The amount of the fee’s payable is 60 Euros a month for working-age people, while those over 65 will have to pay 157 Euros per month via direct debit. Children must also be paid for 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.
  • You do not have the right to healthcare through other means – e.g. as a state pensioner.
  • Pharmacy costs are additional – you must pay 100% of the cost of any prescriptions. However, medications given whilst someone is in hospital are free.
  • All applications must be made in writing to the Regional Health Authority – people cannot apply through their health centre.