Healthcare in Spain after Brexit for UK citizens

How will healthcare work for Brits in Spain after Brexit? / gioiak2 on depositphotos
How will healthcare work for Brits in Spain after Brexit? / gioiak2 on depositphotos
5 March 2020, Emma Donaldson

Will Britons living in the EU still get healthcare after Brexit? This a big question being asked by British expats living in Spain, as well as British tourists and holidaymakers. Recent media reports about the impact of Brexit on the rights of UK nationals living in Spain can cause concern for UK citizens living in Europe, especially in Spain but we are here to reassure you. Let’s have a look at what steps you need to take if you want to continue to receive healthcare in Spain after Brexit.

Healthcare for British tourists in Spain

For emergency treatment on holiday, UK nationals are entitled to use their EHIC card if they fall ill in another EU country, Spain being one of those countries, but depending on the specifics of the Brexit deal, it will not necessarily be valid in the future and British citizens will need additional travel insurance. The Spanish government has stated that for now the situation will not change in 2020. The European Health Insurance Card will be the document that allows Brits to receive medical care during their stay, as the Community Regulations will continue to be applicable until further notice. Note that if you’re from Northern Ireland, the Irish government has stated that they will continue to pay the EHIC costs for Northern Irish citizens, so with any luck, there will be less consequences for Northern Irish Brits.

Healthcare for expats living in Spain

If you’re a British expat living in Spain, the situation is a little different. You are entitled to healthcare in Spain if you meet one of the following requirements as an expat:

  • you receive a UK State Pension or some types of long-term sickness benefit
  • you are a working or self-employed resident in Spain and paying Spanish social security contributions
  • you receive a Spanish state pension or benefit
  • you are a permanent resident in Spain
  • you are a child resident in Spain
  • you are a UK posted worker in Spain
  • you are under 26 and studying in Spain

The easiest way to access to the Spanish healthcare system, said to be one of the best in the world, is to become a resident in Spain. This is a fairly simple process and is worth the paperwork: find out everything you need to know about residency in Spain after Brexit.

For more information, consult the British government’s guide on healthcare in Spain for British citizens. Remember that current healthcare conditions are guaranteed until the end of December 2020 when the current Brexit transition period ends. After this date, the future of healthcare in Spain for travelling Brits is uncertain and also depends on what the UK offers EU citizens in Britain. Spain has already stated that it will offer a reciprocal healthcare agreement for UK citizens in Spain after Brexit but as yet, we don’t know how this will look. Keep up to date with all the Brexit news affecting expats on idealista.

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