EU pensioners moving to Spain lose access to national health service



This topic contains 10 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Mike Mike 11 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #186535
    Profile photo of Mark Stücklin
    Mark Stücklin

    I read that thanks to new changes in Spanish law, EU pensioners moving to Spain lose their right to national health service treatment in both Spain and their home country, at least that’s the case with the UK. So this is something people thinking of retiring to Spain need to be aware of and consider very carefully.

    More information in this article: Mind the Health Gap

  • #186537
    Profile photo of Snikpoh

    What absolute drivel – that’s not what the article says at all.

    Early retirees have to get private health care but pensioners are still covered via the S1.

    I really give up with this type of reporting/sensationalism!

  • #186538
    Profile photo of Mark Stücklin
    Mark Stücklin

    Well, maybe you know more about it than I do. Having re-read the article I see it refers to early retirement in the first line, but the rest of the article gives me the impression this affects all people retiring to Spain, and says the S1 of the case studies “expired”. I may have misunderstood the article, but this is a discussion board not a report, and I don’t see what’s so sensational about bringing this topic to people’s attention.

  • #186584
    Profile photo of iano

    It’s fair to claim access to either state health system is unavailable to early retirees after they’ve moved to Spain lock stock. What’s not clear from the article though, is that it only applies for the first year of residency.

    The Convenio Especial (explained in the penultimate para of the article), is available at a cost, and gives full Spanish state healthcare from year 2 in qualifying regions eg Valencia. Can’t figure why this particular couple haven’t applied and reclaimed their SIP cards.

    Private health cover is mandatory for the first year of residency, as ever with various levels at cost, but pre-existing conditions are not covered. Therein lies the risk, but it is only for one year.

  • #186585
    Profile photo of Mark Stücklin
    Mark Stücklin

    Thanks for clarifying that Iano. Very helpful.

  • #186655
    Profile photo of The Australian
    The Australian

    They also lose disability pensions at least that’s what my Italian friend told me.



  • #186665
    Profile photo of Ptr

    This is very serious for new pensioners retiring to Spain but are you sure they are not covered by S1. The issue that now begins to arise is what happens if we leave the EU. How long is the list of potential  damage both in this and fiscally generally. There is the question of leaving EU but remaining in EEA and this at least would guarantee continuation for UK  pensioners of health care with the EHIC card   when making  say stays as  No Residente fiscally persons.Admittedly this will not affect much younger people who buy holiday homes whilst they remain under retirement age. I think it would be useful to air the issues involved so that in coming months we might get an idea of what is involved and property buyers would be rather less worried about committing their money to Spanish property – notably retired pensioners!

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Profile photo of Ptr Ptr.
  • #186783
    Profile photo of Ptr

    I think my last comment is erroneous – this refers to EARLY RETIRED  IE people who are under the Pension Age  of 66 or is it 67. My understanding is expats with a UK state pension who live in Spain have their health care paid for by the UK. NHS. If you are non resident or tourist you are covered by the EHIC card  available to all from European Economic Area citizens but it’s better to have Private Insurance for the best cover. if you are under Pension Age you only get help in Spain if you have paid into their system and if you are not UK resident you lose right to UK NHS treatment. to be UK resident you need to be in UK 90 days per year.

  • #186823
    Profile photo of Chris Nation
    Chris Nation

    “Early retirement” was mentioned twice in the article. Once, at the beginning, concerning this couple in particular and again at the end of the second para, regarding relevant Spanish legislation. So the piece only applies to that group.

    Those of us who might have taken fright at the doomful contributions of those who did not read the piece correctly before jumping in can relax – if receiving a UK State Pension – viz

    “Retired EU Citizens

    EU nationals resident in Spain qualify for retirement when they reach the retirement age as established in their home country (not at the retirement age set in Spain). Retired people receive benefits and pay nothing provided they have a Form S1 (former E121). This form entitles them to the same benefits as a Spanish national. S1 should be obtained from the former country of residence.

    It certifies that:

    • appropriate social security taxes have been paid in that country
    • the holder has reached the official retirement age
    • the holder is receiving a State pension.”

    It occurs to me to be in a position to take ‘early retirement’ is a considerable privilege. The word ‘early’ is the key. To do so but to expect the same benefits of those who have continued to work to official retirement age is to expect too much. One of the cost calculations of being able to retire ‘early’ must be to pay for those things which have been deemed a benefit only to those of official retirement age.

    Despite the recent wrinkle about “unregistered immigrants”, the position has not changed since 2012. The couple in the article may have made contributions over 40 and 37 years but that does not entitle them to declare they have crossed the finishing line years ahead of the statutory age.

    The piece includes good advice – check the facts with I did so before writing this.



  • #186824
    Profile photo of Ptr

    I note Chris  reference to EU Nationals who are retired EU citizens- that at present includes Nationals of the UK. If we are not in the future still in the EU then we may not qualify. unless we might qualify as members of European Economic Area  or under any reciprocal agreements that were pre-existing to our membership ? my understanding too is that in addition to being over Pension Age you have to be actually receiving a State Pension  in order to qualify for benefit of the Spanish Health service on the same basis as a Spaniard as an EU citizen.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Profile photo of Ptr Ptr.
  • #188181
    Profile photo of Mike

    I “retired” in 1998 at age 59, having worked overseas since 1969.

    All the time I was overseas I continued to pay my U.K. national insurance premiums, “class 2 self-employed”.

    When I retired we came to Spain, and I continued to pay my N.I. premiums until I was age 62, when I  received a letter from the D.H.S.  informing me that I had paid enough and no further payments were required .

    During those first 3 years we had private health insurance, but after that we applied for and were transferred on to the Spanish National Health system. where we have been since, and receiving good health care .

    We were informed by the U.K.  N.H.S. that if we ever returned to live in the U.K. we could transfer back on to the U.K. N.H.S. system again.


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