European Health Cards for EU and Spanish residents.
Note that the UK EHIC card ceases to be valid from 31st December 2020, when UK leaves the union. British citizens will need to take out private medical cover.
Residency is established by the length of time that you spend in a country, you are deemed to be resident when you live in a country for 6 months or more. If you are an EU resident but planning to take a holiday within Europe you should apply for your European Health Cards (EHIC) before you leave. This card is issued free of charge and allows you to have emergency medical care provided by the state healthcare system of the country you are visiting.
The cards are valid from three to five years and each individual must have one including children. Children under the age of 16 are applied for as a dependant on their parents application. You can apply for a renewal card within six months of the expiry date.
You will be asked to show your card prior to treatment in another country so carry them with you. If you have private medical insurance it is still advisable to apply for the EHIC, some insurance companies expect you to have this cover and others waive the excess claim charges if you have used it.
Your EHIC will cover you for standard emergency treatment, dialysis and treatment for pre-existing illnesses as well as maternity care and 60% discount on prescriptions. It does only cover you for state medical care and you may be asked to pay for some treatments whilst abroad depending on the country, it doesn’t allow for repatriation costs.
If you are resident in Spain and are travelling within Europe then you need to apply for your Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea (TSE) which is the Spanish equivalent to European health cards, this will entitle you to the same state healthcare treatment within Europe.
To apply for your TSE you need to visit the Centros de Atención e Información de la Seguridad Social (CAISS) which is part of the Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS). The local office is situated at Calle Pérez Galdós, (opposite HiperDino near Trafico) Arrecife. Telephone: 928 811 102 or 928 811 902.
If you aren’t eligible for the TSE then there is an alternative Certificado Provisional Sustitutorio (CPS) which entitles the holder to the same benefits.
Book an appointment in advance by calling 901 106 570.
Don’t wait until you require emergency treatment, apply well in advance of your travels and remember to carry your card with you.
More reading: Step by step guide to seeing a doctor in Lanzarote.