Is your GHIC (Formerly known as EHIC) valid in Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands? Spain is one of the favourite destinations for British holidaymakers in Europe. With Brexit coming, does it change anything for British travellers? Here is a quick guide to help you prepare your trip. What do you need to enjoy a relaxing city break or holiday there? We will cover topics such as GHIC in Spain, what to do in case of emergency and travel insurance. Let us know in the comments if you have any question and we will make sure to answer quickly.
Why is Spain so popular with British holidaymakers?
British tourists represent around a quarter of all the tourists travelling to beaches in Spain. Let’s have a look at the reasons explaining this increasing popularity.
It is not difficult to understand why Spain is one of the favourite destinations for British holidaymakers. Firstly, Spain is very easily accessible and relatively close to the UK. Within around 3 hours, you can reach any city in Spain from anywhere in the UK. Also. the time difference is limited to 1 hour and it can be really appreciated for a short city break. It’s always good to know that you can enjoy a totally different environment with very limited jet lag.
Spain attracts tourist thanks to its fabulous culture, great weather all year round and beaches. And let’s not forget the parties that attract all kind of tourists: young stag and hen dos, socialites, retirees… The most popular destinations in Spain are Madrid, Barcelona, and the Balearic Islands. Valencia is also a strong contender and you can read more in our guide here > We adore Valencia and the cities around it!
GHIC in Spain
The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) provides healthcare for citizens of the European Union (EU) when they are travelling abroad. With your GHIC, you can travel in countries of the EU and other countries such as Norway, Switzerland or New-Zealand and be sure that in case of emergency you will be treated as a local resident of the country would be. The GHIC covers you for treatments received in public-funded hospitals. Most of the time, the treatments will be free. However, in some countries such as France, you will need to pay the same amount a local would. This amount is a proportion of the cost of treatments. When you are back in the UK, you can claim the cost of treatments back. Therefore it is important to keep all your receipts. If you want to know more about GHIC in France, please click here >
Your card is valid in Spain, including Canary and Balearic Islands. It means that you can receive treatments in any public hospital. If you are being asked to pay upfront, it may mean that you have entered a private hospital. We recommend you to be particularly vigilant in Spain as this confusion happens quite often. The treatments you will receive should be free when you present your health card. For now, the GHIC is valid until 31 October, when the UK is due to leave the EU. It may still be operational after, but nothing has been decided yet. To get the latest information about visit Europe after Brexit, please click here >
Finding help in an emergency in Spain
If you need immediate help in Spain, please dial 112 (ambulancia). For the Accidents & Emergencies, ask for “Urgencias”. This number is free to call and covers all Spanish territory. If there was a weapon involved, you should firstly dial 091 for the police (policia). If you are asking help at the hotel you are staying, you may be treated by a private Doctor. To make sure you will be helped in a state-funded hospital, dial 112.
Private travel insurance in Spain
It is important to know that your Global Health Insurance Card will not cover you in some cases. Indeed, mountain rescue, repatriation or cruises are not covered by the GHIC. Therefore, we strongly advise you to buy private travel insurance that will cover you in these situations. However, we also recommend you to be particularly vigilant when you buy travel insurance for Spain. Indeed, some insurers have offered medical assistance in Spain, but only cover public hospitals. This benefit is already offered by GHIC.
Some travellers have received treatments in private clinics in Spain, convinced they are covered by their travel insurance. In the end, these customers have been told that they have to settle the bill. Even simple treatments can cost thousands of pounds… In some cases, British tourists have looked for medical assistance covered by their insurance policy in private clinics. They but have then been turned away and referred to public hospitals, causing potentially a risk for the health of the patient. Or at least a significant delay before having been seen by a Doctor.
To avoid this situation, make sure to clarify what kind of hospital is covered by your policy before going to Spain. Although it is a very tedious task, check manually your policy or get directly in touch with your supplier.
Enjoy your trip! ¡Buen viaje!
We hope you found this article useful and interesting. There is so much to discover in Spain and we hope you will enjoy your holidays there. Please remember to comment below if you have any question about going to Spain. We have spent months there and speak Spanish, in case you need any help. We can also help you with your GHIC in exchange for a modest fee. It is useful if you need to do several applications, for each of your family’s member for example. To start your application process, please click here >
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