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How a no-deal Brexit will affect Britons’ healthcare coverage in Spain

Officials in the Balearic Islands are particularly concerned about the future conditions covering the large numbers of British visitors they receive

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Health Minister Carcedo (fifth from left) with regional department chiefs on Monday.

Healthcare coverage for British nationals in Spain will depend on the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union, a process commonly known as “Brexit.” If the agreements of November 2018 are respected, everything will stay the same until at least 2021. But if there is a no-deal Brexit, current conditions will only remain in place if British authorities extend reciprocal treatment to Spaniards in the United Kingdom.

Regional officials had asked the ministry to clarify the situation in light of the uncertainty over Brexit

On Monday, Spanish Health Minister María Luisa Carcedo met with regional health authorities to remind them of the measures set out in a contingency plan that was approved by the government in March of this year.

In Spain, healthcare management is devolved to the regions, and several regional officials had asked the ministry to clarify the situation in light of the uncertainty over Brexit. The head of the health department for the Balearic Islands, Patricia Gómez, had expressed particular concern due to the large numbers of British tourists who visit the region. In statements to the media, Gómez said she would like for everything to stay “exactly the same,” and she has volunteered to create a Brexit follow-up committee, according to the news agency Europa Press.

Common situations

The Health Ministry has created a webpage with information for private citizens and agency officials alike. The site lists several common scenarios that British nationals might find themselves in, and explains how to proceed in each case.

For instance, if a British tourist travels to Spain post-Brexit, will he or she be covered by public healthcare during the stay? If the British parliament ratifies the agreement with the EU, the answer is yes, and all that will be required is a European Health Insurance Card. But if there is no departure deal, coverage will only be guaranteed during temporary stays as long as “Spanish citizens receive reciprocal treatment in the UK.”

As for British nationals working in Spain, nothing will change because Spanish legislation guarantees healthcare access to any employee signed up to the social security system. As for their families, they will need a residency permit and they will have to be living in Spain in order to maintain their healthcare benefits.

English version by Susana Urra.

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