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European health card
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The EHIC was introduced across the EU in July 2004 to replace paper forms like the E111 and E128, which until then had been necessary to get essential medical care in another EU member state while on a temporary trip such as a holiday or business visit. With the EHIC (which is free to obtain), you have access throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to state-provided healthcare either free or at a reduced charge.
If you are resident in Spain and covered by the Spanish social security, you can apply for your card here and use it when you travel to other EU countries (including your country of origin). If you do not have the card you could be regarded as a private patient and have to pay for any treatment costs. Here, the EHIC is called a Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea and is available from Social Security offices (INSS). It is free of charge and is valid for two years.
The European Health Insurance Card gives access to the following public health services in member states and the EEA without incurring any charge: any necessary medical treatment needed because of either illness or accident: maternity care, renal dialysis and managing the symptoms of pre-existing or chronic conditions that occur while away.
But, it doesn’t cover you for any planned or long-term medical treatment or the cost of services such as mountain rescue in ski resorts or repatriation. As such, it is important to take out private insurance for these items. In addition, it’s important to note that EHI cards are individual, which means that each member of the family needs to have one.
For more information visit the Spanish Social Security website