2013-05-30 22:25:00

EU warns Spain over hospitalsí rejection of health card

The European Commission is launching legal action against Spain over the refusal of some Spanish hospitals to recognise the European Health Insurance Card.
The EHIC entitles EU citizens to free healthcare in public hospitals.

As European citizens should one fall ill or suffer an injury while travelling in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland.

But some Spanish hospitals rejected the card and told tourists to reclaim the cost of treatment via their travel insurance, according to the Commission.

The Commission, which checks compliance with EU law, has requested information on the issue from the Spanish government - the first stage of an infringement procedure which could eventually result in a fine.

Under the health card system, an EU citizen's home health service is supposed to cover the cost of emergency treatment abroad.

The European Health Insurance Card entitles you to the same state healthcare as a citizen in that country - this includes prescriptions, GP visits and hospital stays.

Care is not always free and the details vary between states depending on their healthcare system.

Some costs can be claimed when a patient returns home, but again this depends on the countryís set-up.

The card can be used in any of the 27 EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It covers emergency care as well long term conditions including kidney dialysis treatment.

(agencies, imedia)

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