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Recortes de Prensa

Valencia Unveils Health Scheme

Round Town News, 08 | 10 | 2009 - Noticia

The government of Valencia this week announced details of its new quota scheme for expats falling outside the umbrella of Spain’s national health system

By paying quarterly contributions – 270 euros for those below retirement age and 330 euros for those above it – the scheme means no-one living in the region will be left without healthcare.

Charities working in the community have already heralded the quota system, which comes into operation on November 29th, as a “very good deal” as it opens doors to every facility the public system offers.

And unlike private insurance, people are not discriminated against by the Valencia Regional Health authority for any pre-existing conditions.

The long-awaited news ends months of uncertainty after the government called time on its unique free health care for all last year because of the strain on its coffers.

NEWCASTLE

The immediate people to benefit are early retirees – who used to qualify for SIP cards by presenting a ‘Newcastle letter’ – confirmation from the UK they were no longer entitled to care under the NHS.

Ending free care sent shockwaves through the expat community. Although the move actually brought Valencia in line with the rest of Spain, the authorities were quick to promise a quota system and extended cover until it was ready.

Those who continued to enjoy healthcare under the old system – those who have a SIP card with ‘DEMAND’ written on it – have 20 days from November 1st until November 21st to make an application without the need to present supporting documentation. This should insure there is no break in health cover.

New applicants can also apply from November 1st but will need paperwork, for example a residency certificate and padron.

Coverage is for individuals only – every person accepted on the scheme will have to pay the quota and no dependents – including children – will be included on another person’s cover.

And UK citizens receiving a UK State Pension will be eligible for free cover once they begin to receive the benefit and will not longer have to remain on the scheme or become a dependent of someone receiving the pension.

COVER

Patients on the scheme will be entitled to healthcare throughout the whole of Spain, not just within the borders of Valencia.

However, they will not be entitled to a Spanish European Health Insurance Card and must take out adequate travel insurance to cover any other EU state – this is because EHIC cards are linked to national health systems of the member states and if a person is not insured by such a system, they cannot be issued with the card.

And people who believe they have insufficient income to meet the cost of the quota system, they may still be eligible for cover through ‘sin recursos’ – insufficient economic means.

The British Embassy has been told existing patients affected by the changes will receive information direct from the health authority as well as details of where to obtain the application forms.

And an embassy spokesman said: “It is important to note that EU legislation does not require member states to set up health insurance schemes for groups that fall outside their national health systems.

OBLIGATION

“The government of Valencia was, therefore, under no obligation to set up this scheme. This system, designed and paid for by the Valencian government, shows goodwill on its part to insure that nobody living in Valencia is left without healthcare.”

He said the UK government was “grateful” for the stance taken by the regional government in its consideration of citizens.

A full list of people who may be entitled to free healthcare in Valencia is published on the embassy website www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk

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