Anyone who goes on holiday outside Spain needs a European health card

by Lorraine Williamson
European Health Card
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MADRID – The Spanish social security system, Seguridad Social, is urging people who plan to leave Spain for a holiday soon to apply for a European health card. With this, you are assured of medical assistance abroad. 

Many Spaniards are expected to go on holiday abroad at some point during December. Therefore, to receive medical assistance in other countries of the European Union, you need a European health card. It is no longer sufficient to present your health card from the Seguridad Social of the relevant Spanish region. 

How do you apply for the card? 

Interested parties with a digital certificate or Cl@va can request this document themselves. Alternatively, this can be done via a representative (gestor) who has a digital certificate or Cl@ve. Firstly, go to the Tu Seguridad Social portal. Then, once inside the platform, select Apply for Card in the European Health Card section. Finally, enter the address to which the card must be sent and request the card for affiliated care recipients. 

However, if you do not have a digital certificate or Cl@ve, go to the Sede Electrónica of the Seguridad Social and identify yourself there by SMS. After gaining access, you must fill in the requested information. Here you cannot enter the address to which the card should be sent, because it automatically uses the address known in the database of the Seguridad Social. 

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Whichever method is chosen, it will take approximately five days to receive the card. 

What you can and cannot do with your European Health Insurance Card? 

The document guarantees a range of rights beyond Spanish borders. However, the owner does not enjoy all the facilities he has in Spain: 

  • The card is only valid if the stay in the country is for tourist reasons, professional activity, or for studies. 
  • It cannot be used if the trip is for medical treatment. This assumption would require the corresponding form from the National Institute for Social Security (INSS) or the Social Institute for the Navy (ISM). 
  • The card will also not work if its owner moves his residence to the destination country. 
  • In some cases, you must pay a fixed amount or a percentage of the health care costs, under the same conditions as the insured persons of the state you are travelling to. Moreover, these amounts are non-refundable. 

The European Health Card (TSE) is the personal and non-transferable document confirming entitlement to the medical treatment required during a temporary stay in the territory of the European Economic Area, United Kingdom, or Switzerland, taking into account the nature of the benefits and the duration of the planned stay, in accordance with the legislation of the country of residence, whether the purpose of the stay is tourism, professional activity or study. 

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