EU Health Cards

Issue of EU Health cards clear for some, muddy for others

August 10th 2009
According to the British Consulate:

"In March 2010 there will be some minor changes to EU social security regulations affecting UK State Pensioners living in Spain, who access their healthcare through the E121 form. One of the changes will be that the country that issues the E121 (in this case, the UK) will also issue the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and therefore Spain is now only issuing these EHIC's until the end of February. We recommend that pensioners contact the Department of Health early in the New Year to apply for their UK issued EHIC. More information on how to do this will be available nearer the time. The normal health cover for UK State Pensioners while they are staying in Spain is not affected."

However with regard to EU residents who are not working, nor retired, it seems that they fall between two stools and the position remains murky:

" Early retirees who are not working, not of Government pension age and not covered by an E106 will not normally be entitled to a EHIC." …and "As EC regulation stands, there is no provision to automatically entitle a person to medical cover when they go to live, but not work, in another EC country. Therefore, unless someone is covered by a reciprocal agreement such as an E121, they would have to meet Spain's rules for accessing state healthcare to be entitled to a Spanish EHIC. These rules state that a person has to be contributing to the social security system in Spain to have entitlement. With regard to the NHS, access is given on the basis of a person's permanent residence there. If they are not resident in the UK, then they will not be entitled to NHS care under the normal rules."

(thanks to John Price for passing on his correspondence with the Consulate)

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