! Spanish News Today – Gibraltar residents lose free healthcare in Spain

Publication date: 08/07/2022

The transitional health measure introduced by Spain after Brexit has been removed

There was widespread disappointment in Gibraltar as Spain decided on June 30 to end the reciprocal healthcare agreement in place since Brexit.

In reality, the deal should have ended when the UK left the EU, but Spain went against the grain and remained the only country of the 27 member states to implement temporary legislation allowing people living in Gibraltar to receive free healthcare on the mainland.

The measure was initially put in place for 18 months and, now that the deadline has expired, the Spanish government has decided not to renew it.

The decision, however, has far-reaching consequences. While the decree was in effect, residents of Gibraltar insured under the Group Practice Medical Scheme could take advantage of Spain’s free and comprehensive national healthcare and receive emergency treatment while visiting the mainland, completely free of charge. .

Now, the local government of the Rock is advising all residents to take out travel insurance that includes medical care when planning a trip to Spain, even if it’s just for a few hours.

Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, warned: “The Government of Gibraltar cannot be held liable for claims arising from a lack of insurance against these risks.”

This system has been in place in all other EU member states since Brexit on December 31, 2020.

Gibraltar has responded by announcing that its health services will no longer provide free healthcare to Spanish visitors.

It is important to note, however, that the withdrawal of free healthcare does not affect EU citizens who live in Spain but travel to Gibraltar for work.

In a statement last week, a Gibraltar government spokesman said the Rock would have been happy to continue with the temporary arrangement.

“However,” they continued, “because reciprocity is a key element of these arrangements which cannot work without coordination and provisions for reimbursement of costs etc., HMGoG has no choice but to discontinue them also insofar as the processing in Gibraltar is concerned”.

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