Living Abroad – Spanish National Health System

Are you covered by the Spanish National Health System?

If you are in Spain as a tourist, you will probably have brought along your copy of
the E111 form obtained from the national health service in the UK, or you may have
taken out private health cover with your tour operator. In either case, you will be
covered for accidents and urgent illnesses during your stay. The E111 form will only
cover you for emergencies, not for treatment of chronic illnesses or for undertaking
an operation in Spain that you would have to wait a long time for in your home
country. If you run out of or mislay your regular medication whilst in Spain, your
E111 form can be used in any pharmacy to obtain a replacement.

You will have to use the doctors, surgeries or hospitals of the Spanish national
health services, called INSS. If you go to a private doctor or hospital, they will ask
you to pay, so if you are unfortunate enough to need to call an ambulance whilst on
holiday, make sure the driver knows that you need to be taken to an INSS hospital.
There are many private hospitals along the Costa Blanca, and you may find yourself
arriving at one of them as the driver has assumed you had private health cover. If
this happens you should communicate this to the INSS within 24 hours. The
personnel at the private hospital will assist you.

If you have contributed to the national health services of your own country, and that
country has an agreement with Spain on health services, you can also be covered if
you stay for longer periods in Spain, or become a permanent resident here. Then
you need to bring a form E-121 in two copies with you to Spain, and register it with
the Spanish health authorities. The registration is with the local Centro de Salud.
They will keep one of the copies of the form, and fill in and stamp the other one, to
be kept by you.
After a while you will receive in the post a card identifying you as a person with
certain rights to use the Spanish national health services. On it will be given the
name of the doctor you are to visit in case of illness, as well as the address of the
next INSS health centre. If you go on visits to other countries from Spain, you must
remember to get an E-111 from your local health centre, to be covered as a tourist
abroad, even in your home country.

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