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EC concerns over Spanish hospitals refusals to accept EHIC

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EC concerns over Spanish hospitals refusals to accept EHICThe European Commission has expressed its concerns about refusals by Spanish public hospital to recognise EHIC

The EC has requested information from Spain about complaints that Spanish hospitals providing public healthcare are refusing to recognise the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

The Commission is concerned that Spain might be failing to fulfil its obligations under EU law to provide emergency healthcare to temporary visitors from other Member States on the same terms and conditions as are available to Spanish nationals under the public healthcare scheme.

The Commission’s request for information follows an increasing number of complaints it has received concerning hospitals providing public healthcare services, mainly in tourist areas of Spain, which refuse to treat citizens on the basis of their European Health Insurance Card and instead request a travel insurance policy and credit card details.

Public healthcare is generally free of charge in Spain and the European Health Insurance Card entitles its holder to be treated on the same terms as Spanish nationals. However, in some cases, citizens have been erroneously informed that their European Health Insurance Card is not valid if they have travel insurance.

Other patients believed they were being treated on the basis of their European Health Insurance Card, but later found out that their travel insurance company had been sent a bill for treatment.

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