In general terms, European citizens who have residency in Spain are entitled to receive public health care. The Health Insurance Card, which must be obtained in order to be able to benefit from such services, is an individual and personalised document that accredits an individual’s right to receive public healthcare. Each member of the family must have their own card.
The Spanish Health Insurance Card is obtained when a person decides that Spain is to be their normal place of residence which means that the Spanish authorities will inform authorities in their country of origin about this.
However, if you are a Spanish resident with a private health insurance card and you want to use the Spanish public health system, you must be included in it as a beneficiary of aforesaid system. This means that as an EU citizen you must prove one of the following:
- you are covered by the public health system in your country of origin (with the document issued by the competent authority in aforesaid country).
- you are working in Spain.
- you are dependent on someone who is covered under the Spanish system.
- you are registered on the municipal census but do not have enough economic resources.
If none of these cases apply, you cannot benefit from the system.
Once this has been established, all those who wish to be covered by the system must apply for and process the Spanish Health Insurance Card (Tarjeta SIP) in order to have access to the health services and assistance.
To apply for this card and find out what documentation is required in each case you should go to your local health centre and ask.
The temporary residence forms were replaced by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in 2004.
This card is valid for an individual and entitles them to receive the necessary medical health care when they are temporarily residing in one of the countries that forms part of the European Union, Switzerland, or the European Economic Area, (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). It takes into account the type of service and expected length of the stay. The period of validity is written on the European Health Card.
Card holders receive the same health care as anyone else from the country of residence. The European Health Card is not valid however if the reason for going to another country is to receive specific medical care.
Anyone entitled to health care coverage according to Spanish law can request this European Health Card in Spain, when they are going to another country in the EU, European Economic Area, or Switzerland for a temporary period.
On the other hand, if it is a citizen from another EU country coming to Spain temporarily, they should apply for this health care card in their country of origin before their arrival. These individuals will receive the same health coverage from the Spanish social security health care system as any other person.