Clarification on Free Healthcare in Valencia

Following discussions between the British Embassy in Madrid and the Valencia Health Authorities some important aspects of the withdrawal of circular 1/2002 and its replacement with the new law "Ley de Aseguramiento Sanitario", which deals with changes in provision of healthcare in Valencia, have been clarified

Some UK nationals living in Valencia are affected by this, including early retirees who are not paying Spanish National Insurance contributions.

The main points are that:

The system is set to change. In the future, anyone will be able to access state-run healthcare by paying a monthly quota. The Valencia Health Authorities aim to implement this new system by the start of 2009. The final monthly amount has not been decided, but we are told that it will be  'reasonable and affordable'. There will be no discrimination against customers with pre-existing conditions.

Anyone holding a valid SIP card that had been obtained via an "extension a demanda", or as it is more commonly known, 'The Newcastle Letter', on the 6th June 2008 will continue to have cover until 15th January 2009.  If the scheme is implemented before 15th January 2009, the Health Agency reserves the right to terminate people's free cover.  They will write out to customers at least 3 months before doing this. If you have changed address, please make sure that you inform the health authorities or "Conselleria de Sanitat" so that they can contact you should they need to.

   Anyone who renewed their SIP card before 6 June 2008 will have the full 12 months cover until the card expires, e.g. if you renewed your card or joined the scheme in May, you will have cover until May 2009.The only condition to this cover is that you do not have entitlement by any other means. For example, if you are in receipt of UK State Pension or long-term incapacity benefit, this could be that you are entitled to an E121). If you have been in Spain less than two-and-a-half years and have a full UK National Insurance contributory record for the three years preceding the date you stopped paying into the system you may be entitled to an E106. You should also find out whether you can become a dependant on one of these forms. For more information on the forms E121 and E106, visit www.dwp.gov.uk/international/sa29

    In order to find out if you can become a dependant on one of these forms, you should go to a Spanish Social Security office (in Spanish, Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social or INSS) in which the person you intend to become a dependent of registered their form. If they are satisfied you qualify as a dependant, they will contact the Department Work and Pensions in the UK to request the issue of a dependent E-Form. A dependant is typically a wife, husband or child, but the INSS will provide detailed information on who they consider to be a dependant.

   If you experience any problems getting treatment and you fall into the categories above, you should call the regional health authority or "Conselleria de Sanitat" on  900 662 000 (13.00 - 15.00).

   People without sufficient economic means may be considered for free healthcare. However, the application process is much more rigorous now. You will have to be under the threshold according to Spanish Social Security Legislation and fulfill a number of other requirements. If you think that you may qualify, contact the "Conselleria de Sanitat" in Valencia.

  Until the new system comes into effect, all British nationals whose cards ran out prior to 6th June and did not renew them, and those planning to move to the region of Valencia and do not qualify for free healthcare, should consider private health insurance until the new legislation comes into force.

  When the new system comes into force, new applicants will be allowed onto the public health system and old customers will be able to renew their card.

The British Embassy is still working closely with the Valencia Authorities. Once there are clearer instructions on how the private policy will work and when it will come into force, this will be communicated both by the Valencia Health Agency and the British Embassy.

Additional information