Spanish Health Service Access Ends for Some Foreigners August 31st, 2012

copyright Pablo Cruz Roja – Creative Commons

The Spanish government has announced access to Spanish health services will be ending for some foreign immigrants on August 31st, 2012, in an effort to stop what they call ‘health tourism’.

Foreigners who will no longer have access to Spanish health care include those who have not had a residency card for at least three months, as well as those who are living in Spain illegally, and others who come to Spain on a holiday simply to get cheap healthcare.

From August 31st, in order to access Spanish healthcare, any foreigner including citizens of other EU countries, will have to have had a Spanish residency card for three months, must be working or studying in Spain, or have sufficient income to not be a burden on the Spanish state while in Spain.

Tourists will also have access to Spanish health care if they have an insurance policy that covers Spain.

No longer will family members of residents in Spain be able to come to Spain for cheap healthcare, as up to 700,000 have done in the past. It has become a burden on the Spanish health care system, as well as on Spanish taxpayers who are having to pay for people not entitled to cheap health care but who have still been getting access to it.

For foreigners who are living in Spain, but have not yet registered with their local Padron, they will now have to if they expect to be able to use Spain’s health care service.

Although some politicians say the new rules for Spanish health care coverage are ‘xenophobic’ and ‘anti-immigrant’, you really cannot blame the Spanish government for implementing the new rules, as they say it has cost the country almost 1 billion euros so far.