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Navigating Health Care in Spain after Brexit

Navigating Health Care in Spain after Brexit

Introduction

Brexit's impact is far-reaching and has affected various sectors in different ways. One aspect of concern for citizens of the United Kingdom, especially those residing in Spain, involves changes in the healthcare system. According to Spain's government decision of December 21, 2020, the validity of European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) for UK citizens has been temporarily extended post-Brexit. This means that, for now, UK citizens can access healthcare services in Spain using their EHIC. But what does the future hold for UK citizens regarding healthcare provision in Spain after Brexit?

Understanding The EHIC

The EHIC provides the holder with the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 27 EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway. The coverage includes treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and routine maternity care. Post-Brexit, the UK has introduced the UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will gradually replace the EHIC.

Healthcare Scenario for UK Residents Post-Brexit

After Brexit, the situation surrounding healthcare access for UK citizens in Spain is a bit more complicated. The temporary extension of EHIC validity has provided temporary relief, but uncertainty looms over what will happen when this extension period elapses.

Well, here's some good news. As a part of the Withdrawal Agreement made between the UK and the EU, those legally resident in Spain before January 1, 2021, will continue to have their healthcare rights protected as long as they remain residents. This means they can access healthcare services as they did pre-Brexit.

As for those planning to move to Spain post-Brexit, it's crucial to take out appropriate health insurance. It's also important to understand the requirements for residency, as access to the Spanish state healthcare system is reliant on residency status in most cases.

Temporary Visitors and Healthcare

For UK nationals visiting Spain on a temporary basis, the scenario is slightly different. Once the EHIC expires, it can be replaced with the UK's GHIC to get necessary healthcare in Europe. However, it's important to note that neither card covers all healthcare services, so it's advisable to take out comprehensive travel insurance that includes health cover.

Conclusion

Healthcare after Brexit may seem complex due to changing regulations and new agreements. The assurance lies in the fact that Spain continues to welcome UK citizens while ensuring access to healthcare for those who choose to make Spain their home. By keeping abreast of the latest updates and ensuring adequate health insurance cover, UK citizens can enjoy their Spanish sojourn without anxiety about healthcare access in the post-Brexit era.

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