Last year there was a lot of fuss about hospitals on the Costa’s asking for private insurance from patients instead of the EHIC.
I would like to make my position clear. If you have paid your travel costs including medical insurance and the hospitals then sends the bills to the insurance company instead of the UK, I DONT THINK ITS ILLEGAL OR IMMORAL. The insurance companies complained to the EU that this was happening, because when a patient went to a state hospital and had both insurance and an EHIC, they preferred the private one.
Why do you think they chose the private one?
Because the private insurance pays them in more or less 3 months and the UK (or any other country) in approximately one year! If I was them I would do that also and so would anybody with common sense! Moreover, there is no regulation that says “if the citizen has both, you have to choose to invoice the country”.
However if they only have the EHIC and they either make them sign a “compromiso de pago”, or they refuse to take care of them, that, I have a huge problem with!
I personally don’t care if the hospital invoices the private insurance or the UK. My problem is if they leave people without treatment. I have a huge problem with that, so here are some tips that I am sure will help you through this.
So this is what I would do if this happened to me and my EHIC was rejected:
1) I would have researched my rights in the country; the simplest way is the EHIC app. Update. Appears to not be available. Or, go to this page and print your rights in the country you are travelling to.
2) If I had an emergency I would go to the CARE Benalmadena, they have less waiting time (check before you go, it is closed in some holidays 951.97.60.00 / 951.97.60.02).
3) If they are denying you treatment and arguing that they need a private insurance or credit card, I would not, under any circumstances give out my credit card.
4) I would ask to speak with the manager of billing, and ask them to show me the written rules that allow them to deny me treatment. Of course, there is not such a thing!!
5) Ask to write a “carta de reclamación” (letter of complaint). check my post on letters of complaint
6) I would say that I am calling the ”Delegación regional de Sanidad” (and actually call them: 951 039 800 for Málaga), and your consulate (unfortunately, the UK consulate has a machine that directs you to London…did not help my patient a lot, the poor man). All of the consulates have emergency numbers.
7) Explain that I’m also calling the press, and then call the area local newspapers (some relative can google them,in the costa del still they are the Sur in English, Euroweekly News, the Olive Press and the News-anyway, that’s the ones I remember!)
8) I would also ask to speak with the chief of A& E and the medical director.
If your emergency is something life threatening, I would give out my credit card, but as soon as I’m stabilized I ( or more realistically, a relative) would go to billing, speak to the manager there and get it sorted out.
This is just my advice, what I would do based on my experience of working inside the system (public & concertado). Of course, I can’t guarantee that it will work.
If anyone has had any experience that has worked I would be glad to hear of it.
Finally, these are the hospitals in the Costa del Sol that are covered by the EHIC:
Carlos Haya, Clinico Universitario and Materno Infantil : Málaga
Hospital Costa del Sol, CARE Mijas and CARE Benalmadena (this one is very close to Xanit Hospital, that is only private, so be careful).
I hope this information will help anyone coming on vacation here.
Of course this seems like a lot of work when you are having a medical crisis. I understand this, when I deal with some cases of illnesses in vacations, even when there is NO problem with the insurance.