Health cover for 6 month stay in Spain every year

asdfg

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,583
Myself and my wife are retired. We have bought a property in Spain and intend to spend 6 months there. We have health insurance with VHI and are covered by their health care plus policy. My wife has a number of health issues and has to visit the gp every month to get specific medication
Does the VHI policy cover us for hospital care in private hospitals in Spain for the 6 months that we are there and the visits to the gp.
 

Saavy99

Frequent Poster
Messages
587
Maybe if you discuss this query with VHI, they should know the answer as it will be them who will be paying out in the event of a claim.
 

DK123

Frequent Poster
Messages
56
Perhaps if you are irish citizens you can take out normal long term travel insurance covering you for say 20,000000 and 10000 for repatriation.I dont think VHI covers for much more than 100,000.Its been a while since i checked this out and it might not cover you for the full 6 months
 

Leper

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,209
Some of the following may be of help and better again if you don't have to use it:-
1. When you take out any form of insurance you are fully covered until you make a claim. Am I cynical? You bet your rootin' tootin' bottom dollar; insurance companies have driven me that way. Ensure whatever special insurance you need is highlighted by the insurers - you probably know this already.
2. Your EHIC card is your best friend and it's free. If you or your wife need emergency medical treatment your local Céntro Médico will attend to you free of charge. Bring your passports if attending. Note some Céntro Médicos are privately run and you will be charged. But, nearly every resort will have an official Céntro Médico. The EHIC card is valid for 3 months from your date of arrival (I note you intend to stay for 6 months). But, if you can split your stay to 2x3months stays you might save a few bob.
3. (a) Spaniards and expats tend to visit the local farmacía (free) before considering a visit to the doctor. You can get many medical drugs over the counter without prescription in Spain. Your Spanish pharmacist is now your 2nd best friend. Is your cost insured?
(b) If your are supplied a prescription by the Céntro Médico your prescription bill will be much less (don't query, take the reduction).
4. I don't know your wife's medical condition or its complexities. If you don't speak good Spanish (I mean good Spanish not per your travel guide book) you might need a translator. Likely, you'll use an agency, but are you covered by your insurance? - Talk to the insurers. Note translators usually want money up front and without receipt. You heard it here first!
5. Most Céntro Médicos have somebody who'll speak some English and usually they can help. But, if your wife has a serious complicated medical condition you'll need a translator if the doctor doesn't speak English.
6. Nuclear Option:- Your wife needs hospital treatment in Spain. Check in, get a bed, get fed then med - Not that easy. Likely, you don't need a translator at this stage. If your hospital doctor doesn't speak English you'll need a translator on leaving the hospital. Prescribed drugs will be much cheaper when presented later at your farmacía.
7. Hospital Stay:- Keep a written account or get your wife to do it of day to day "activities" including food, tests, x-rays, visits from consultant/hospital doctor.
8. Your wife may be the only non Spanish speaking patient in the ward. Boredom can set it. Books and a transistor radio/mobile phone my alleviate this. Some patients want a bed near a window; others want one by the door etc. Spaniards are not shy about asking your wife to be shifted within or without the ward to the favour of their hospitalised relative. You heard this here first too! It can be daunting for a patient who doesn't understand the Spanish way of life including loud talk, waving of hands, sneering faces etc. Remember every local is much sicker than your wife whether you like it or not.
9. The patient must eat and drink and take medicine, get blood tests, need x-rays, consultation etc. Does your insurance cover all of these. I can nearly hear you saying "FOOD?" - Don't be surprised if you are presented with a bill on departure from the hospital with the food bill (including tea, coffee, light refreshments, biscuits, sweets).
10. Ambulance:- Does your insurance cover you for full services of all the paramedics/nurses/drivers? . . . . the transport to hospital? Ensure you get written full information from your insurers.
11. By-the-Way:- If your wife needs warfarin or a warfarin test, note some pharmacías provide the service at a cost of around €15.00. You email or phone the warfarin clinic in Ireland when you get the result a few hours later and you will be advised how much to take (free).

Feel free to ask any questions.
 

ALEXA

Frequent Poster
Messages
124
God Leper, I'd say you've put them right off heading to Spain for 6 months you naughty boy!!!
 

Jim2007

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,138
God Leper, I'd say you've put them right off heading to Spain for 6 months you naughty boy!!!
If you are more that 3 months, you have to comply with residency laws. And that includes being able to demonstrate to the Spanish authorities that you are a fully covered (not just holiday insurance) in Spain.
 

Leper

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,209
Savvy has me down as an expert in all things Spanish and Alexa informs us that I am a naughty boy. Jim raised the fact that 90+ days in Spain has "residencia" implications. All three posters are correct.

I am not trying to dissuade people from staying long-term in Spain. We rent out an apartment there so the more that go the merrier as far as I am concerned.

I think I have fallen into every pit hole that could be fallen into in Spain over the years. And you just got to brush everything off and get on with the job; Spain is Spain.

In deference to the the Original Poster (Asdfg) I kept my post as short as possible. Likely, he didn't read my posts about buying property in Spain. I have been offered "deals" to commit some of the content of my posts here to legible writing for money, but I refused each offer to-date.

I hope I did not in any way criticize the Spanish Health System. It is excellent and on a par (at least) with anything the UK NHS can come up with. In fact, I am in gratitude to a Spanish hospital for a serious condition which was diagnosed there. I have spent some time in two Spanish hospitals and I think I am qualified to speak of the situation there. However, my anger is directed with INSURERS here on the following grounds:-
(i) You are liable for the first "X" amount of your claim.
(ii) When the claim is being settled the insurance company will try to pay as less as possible - "Hey Buddy! - What do you think I took out insurance for?" cuts little ice.
(iii) The "All Irish" insurance you took out is being underwritten by a non-Irish company in the UK.
(iv) You make your claim and almost instantly it is passed on to the underwriters. You cannot speak with the underwriters. You can email/fax them and even leave a message on their answering devices. In my case they did not speak to me or worse again even try to contact me. They have the money and can ask you to provide anything they wish. But, they won't listen to you. After you claim they want written medical reports from medical consultants in Spain and Ireland and even your GP. You pay for these and in my case the costs were not refunded.
(v) You may have to change flight times to return to Ireland. These are not covered either.
(vi) The under-writers will do everything to get your off their back and to pay you as little as possible.

That's my experience of "Irish" insurance.

. . . . . . nearly forgot, you spend more than 182 days in any rolling year in Spain (even in hospital) Spanish Revenue will expect you to pay tax on all your worldwide earnings. I kid you not.
 

Saavy99

Frequent Poster
Messages
587
Are you talking about travel insurance in general or availing of foreign cover through Irish health insurance policy?
 

Jim2007

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,138
Are you talking about travel insurance in general or availing of foreign cover through Irish health insurance policy?
Generally speaking once you are considered to be resident in the other EU/EEA/CH all policies you took out are void including your EHIC card. You are also subject to the residency and social security laws in that countr.
 

Leper

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,209
Are you talking about travel insurance in general or availing of foreign cover through Irish health insurance policy?
Here we go dividing what insurance is. Insurance is insurance whether it is Travel Insurance or Life Insurance or Car Insurance or Health Insurance. However, for the sake of this thread My references above are about Travel Insurance. I've had difficulties in Life Insurance claims too, but they are for another day.

I get somewhat peeved when I see or hear television and radio ads about insurance "We've got you covered . . ." - "We're the people that care . . . " advertising that is a diatribe of lies. I look forward to insurance advertising informing us truthfully that "If we pay, we'll pay what we feel like paying"
 

Gervan

Frequent Poster
Messages
1,061
1. When you take out any form of insurance you are fully covered until you make a claim.
Leper this made me laugh, although it shouldn't have. It is so true.

I had my return flight suddenly cancelled in March, leaving me stranded for 3 1/2 months. I was confident I had insurance that covered this... Clause x...
I was absolutely shocked on my submitting a claim when I reached Ireland again, only to be told I wasn't insured for having a return flight cancelled.! I was advised the correct procedure was to put the refund from the cancelled flight towards my more expensive return flight, which is obviously what I did, but that's not insurance!

You have given very clear advice above, on what to consider when staying over a month or so in any other country. It's a nice idea, but....
 

Jim2007

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,138
You have given very clear advice above, on what to consider when staying over a month or so in any other country. It's a nice idea, but....
For the EU/EEA/CH, three months is the cut off. Beyond that point, you are considered a resident and all that that entails.
 

Thirsty

Frequent Poster
Messages
2,576
Just to balance Leper's experience of Health/Travel insurance; I had a hospital stay (before COVID!) in what would be considered a 'developing' country.

It was a private Hospital and one phone call to the VHI emergency number confirmed all costs were covered. The bill was eye-watering but none of it came out of my pocket.
 
Top