Irregular immigrants will lose the use of the health service cards on August 31 as the government cracks down on ‘health tourism’. From that date they will only obtain emergency coverage, unless they are pregnant women or children, who will still get full access.
EU citizens, those from Switzerland and other states in the European Economic Area are also going to see their health service status changed. Now, in order to obtain a Health Card these Europeans must have a residency card for more than three months, be studying or working, or have sufficient resources for the members of their family, so that they do not become a burden on the Spanish state during their time of residence.
A health insurance policy which covers all risks in Spain or being part of a family which accompanies a EU citizen will also be accepted.
The Ley de Extranjeria is to be changed to stop family members of legal residents here coming to Spain ‘exclusively’ to receive health care. 2009 figures estimate 700,000 such people used the service in an undue way, costing the Spanish health service 917 million €.