By Euro Weekly News Media • 18 February 2013 • 17:59
Health alert for expats
BRITISH tourists visiting Spain can face medical bills for thousands of euros if taken ill while on holiday.
Yet one in ten over 55-year-olds admit failing to take out travel insurance before travelling even though more than half suffer from a medical condition.
The British Embassy in Madridyesterday (Wednesday) announced that 35 per cent of Britons travelling to Spain avoid taking out insurance because they are ‘only going on a short break’, 27 per cent claim it’s too expensive, whilst 18 per cent refrain because they believe they are covered by their bank.
Each year, around 5,000 British nationals seek assistance from consular staff in Spain; some with medical bills of thousands of euros.
Dave Thomas, Consular Regional Director for Spain, advised British expatriates in Spain : “If you have over-55s visiting this year, tell them to get insurance before they travel. Taking out a comprehensive policy and declaring any medical condition may be an added expense but it’s a small investment compared to what you could end up paying if something goes wrong.”
A British Embassy spokesman, added: “All British visitors to Spain, including over-55s, need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Apply on the NHS website for free or call 0845 606 2030. If you then have an accident or become ill, you can get the necessary state-provided medical healthcare at reduced cost or sometimes free. But it is very important to realise that an EHIC does NOT cover all your medical costs, private treatment or repatriation to the UK. You still need travel insurance to ensure you are fully covered for all eventualities.”
Details of how the Foreign Office can provide support to British nationals when things go wrong are outlined in Support for British nationals abroad: A guide:www.fco.gov.uk/travel.
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If you are really here on holiday you will be covered by your European Health Card if you have an emergency or an accident while in Spain, heart attack, car accident etc. Spain should not be providing ongoing medical care and non urgent operations since the British government has not reimbursed the Spanish gov. for years for its “expats” and now owes them millions.
Some the travel insurance firms offer pre existing conditions as part of their advertising but yet when someone takes out a policy they are faced with outrageous prices which appear to charge them the extra anyway.
Interesting comment about the E111. I visited a GP in Spain and one snotty interpreter made it quite clear that the British Government had not been reimbursing Spain but when I contacted the Government in the UK they denied this.
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