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Your EHIC travel insurance card has been reprieved and will still be valid tomorrow

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Will your EHIC card still be valid in 2021? Yes, it will.

One concern about the final Brexit agreement was that the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would be abolished. Luckily, they have been – just about – reprieved, albeit the name will change.

EHIC card will continue in 2021

What is an EHIC?

The European Health Insurance Card was free. It allows UK residents to obtain the same treatment at a European hospital or medical practice that a local resident would receive.

The cards cover the EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Do you need to replace your existing EHIC?

No. The good news is that your existing EHIC card will continue to be valid in EU countries, and only EU countries, until the expiry date printed on the card.

This means that the four non-EU countries listed above are no longer covered by your EHIC.

What will replace your EHIC?

The UK Government has proposed a new product called the Global Health Insurance Card, or GHIC.

The GHIC will have the same coverage as your EHIC card, so there is no need to apply for a replacement. It will still not cover you in Switzerland etc.

The NHS website still allows you to apply for an EHIC although you will receive one of the new cards.

As with an EHIC, the GHIC is not a replacement for full travel insurance although you may feel that it is enough. Because you are only covered to the same level as a citizen of the country you are visiting, you may face charges for some services which would be free if you were in the UK.

You can find out more, including what you should do if you are a UK resident in Europe or a European resident in the UK, on the NHS site here.

Comments (226)

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  • Anuj says:

    It seems like another advantage for pensioners. What does this deal do for young people like me? Hopefully my generation will finally get rid of the triple lock pension (make it means tested perhaps, asking with winter fuel payments and free travel passes).

    • Rob says:

      Nothing. You’re screwed.

      At least my kids have EU passports.

    • ChrisBCN says:

      I’m sorry, the old people largely voted away your right to travel/work/live freely that they enjoyed. Now you must stay at home living with your parents and ‘working’ in the gig economy to fund their disproportionate pensions. Thanks in advance.

      • mradey says:

        ha hah ha hah ha ha. Crack on Chris, crack on.

      • Anna says:

        ChrisBCN, I assume you have figures, then, for the number of UK citizens who actually work in the EU and the corresponding numbers of EU citizens who live and work in the UK (don’t include Brits who have retired to the Costas etc as they will be largely unaffected). You behave as though millions of UK nationals have been performing amazing jobs they could only get in other countries and will now be disbarred for all time from this, neither of which is remotely accurate!

      • Nick_C says:

        There will no longer be a right for unskilled Brits to go and live in Europe, or unskilled EU Citizens to come and live here. But people have always been able to move to other countries. Having skills that are in demand helps.

        As a child, before we joined the EC, we had Polish and Austrian friends who lived in the UK.

        I have British friends and relatives who have settled in the US and Canada. Last time I checked, neither were Member States.

        • Dev says:

          That’s what will benefit the Uk in the long term … the ability to wean ourselves off cheap imported labour. Try getting an official no strings attached fully legit on the immigration side low paid manual job as a 3rd country national anywhere other than the EU or Gulf countries.

          Educated and skilled Brits will still be able to migrate, learn or invest elsewhere … just apply for the relevant visa.

          This is a turning point … do employers invest in staff and grow their businesses with UK talent or forever moan about the end of cheap imported labour!

          • Steve says:

            Or they will automate and then what? You will complain about that. Lol. No one in the UK is interested in these jobs. How being in the EU prevented us to do that?

            It’s the same old story going on in circles for centuries. Blame everything else and look for the easy solutions.

            This time it was the EU. Next time it will be something else. It’s never us, it’s always them.

          • Rob says:

            You are missing the point. The idea is that you get cheap imported labour to do the rubbish jobs, so your own higher skilled workforce can do better quality jobs, in the same way that your boss hired you so he could do more valuable stuff himself. What good is it to UK society if we pay to educate you to age 16 and then you become a dustman? None. Better to let someone else come in who didn’t have your educational benefits and be your dustman and you get a job more commensurate with your skills.

          • Charlieface says:

            Rob, slight problem is that our education system actually DOES turn out dustmen, who don’t actually want to do that job

          • Paul Pogba says:

            The idea that the indigenous population will all do high skill jobs assumes that they not only have the same innate/genetic abilities but will also overcome any environmental disparities to leave education with the same/equivalent talents. Apart from being implausible there is no empirical evidence that this is the case. This leaves our lower functioning population to compete with anyone that is able to legitimately migrate through EU freedom of movement but also a significant number that enter illegally and work in the black market. The majority of people that welcome uncapped migration are usually beneficiaries through cheaper low skill services (nanny’s, coffee shop workers, hotel housekeepers, etc) that don’t face any competition in the labour market due to regulatory barriers to entry. The wealthy beneficiaries are also less likely to priced out of the bottom end of the housing market, new migrants, at worst, get priced into pleasant areas below their aspiration.

            For the record I’m not anti migrant on an individual level but the scale and cumulative level has imposed significant negative externalities on the indigenous poor.

        • RussellH says:

          As you say, Nick, “There will no longer be a right…”
          Some of us think that rights are important.
          We also wonder what other rights this bunch of crooks who call themselves a government plan to remove next – they are certainly talking about restricting access to legal redress.

    • Brian P says:

      There are nearly twice as many British citizens in Australia as the EU combined. Most EU countries have an 18-30 working holiday visa.

      The most important thing the deal did was give you and my children the chance of affording a house. Unless house building matches immigration prices will rise.

      • Rob says:

        You are aware that Boris just gave 3m Hong Kong citizens the right to move here, and a lot will come? These people can all afford UK property and will have a far greater impact than low paid EU born renters.

        • LB says:

          Do you not believe the UK still has a responsibility towards HK nationals? I really can’t see hundreds of thousands upping sticks and coming to live here.

          • RussellH says:

            A friend of mine who lived and taught at a university there and pre-covid used to visit regularly reckons about 50% of Hong Kong residents will want to move to the UK.

          • avstar says:

            it is already happening

          • Michael Jennings says:

            Depends how bad things get in Hong Kong.

          • kitten says:

            Not sure. I do recall disbelieving when unlike several other EU countries, Tony Blair did not take the opportunity to limit Eastern Europe immigration to the UK for the initial years after those countries joined. I recall him saying at that time, that only 30,000 people would come from Roumania to the UK, for example.

          • kitten says:

            not hundreds of thousands, No.
            millions, Yes.

        • Brian P says:

          versus an EU population will in excess of 400 million.. plus morally the right thing to do.

          • LB says:

            I remember back in 2014 when the migration restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania were lifted. The press went crazy and when the camera crews were at Luton airport, waiting for the first flight to arrive, only ONE bemused Bulgarian had come over to live!

          • Steve says:

            But then you will complain about too much Cantonese on the high street 😉 let’s bookmark this

          • kitten says:

            @LB followed soon after by.hundreds of thousands though.

        • Bazza says:

          Of course that’s not true because 3m is a small number to the amount of EU citizens who can come here.

          • Rob says:

            How many middle class EU citizens move to the UK and buy a house with no intention to return? Very few, and offset, potentially fully, by UK citizens permanently leaving to retire or live in the EU.

        • mark2 says:

          The richest and most mobile moved to Canada long ago.

          • Dev says:

            The agreement with China in 1985 was truly shocking … we gave away a whole colony and a population of people to a communist nation! No where else in History has a western nation willingly negotiated away a population and handed them over to a dictatorship. We owe the people of Hong Kong (pre-1997) and their descendants full British Citizenship!

          • Rob says:

            IIRC we owned the island in perpetuity. However, the mainland part of HK was on a lease which was up. It was decided to hand back the island too as it wasn’t much use without the New Territories etc.

        • Anna says:

          Many EU member states offer nationality or at least residence to foreigners with enough money, Malta, Cyprus and Spain are just 3 examples. Apparently that’s also Soctland’s plan to bolster its economy in the event of independence!

          • Dennyboy says:

            Its all well for people with loads of cash and assets, but what about the normal working man who wants to retire to the sun, this has now been tougher with the income restrictions non EU people need to meet to be able to live there!

          • Dev says:

            Hmmm …. institutional Southern European corruption which eases money laundering (and the sun!) or Scotland where they will try and screw you for every penny and ask questions where your money comes from… tough choice

          • Peggerz says:

            Hi @Anna.

            “Apparently that’s also Soctland’s plan to bolster its economy in the event of independence!”

            First time I’ve heard of this. Do you have a source? My understanding is that Westminster’s ‘line’ is that Scotland can’t join the EU if it becomes independent.

          • David says:

            The UK does that too – yes the investment required is higher, but (at least historically, before the UK became the utter mess it is right now) a bank will lend you the money for UK Gilts.

          • Anna says:

            Peggerz – I have read previously that there is plan to invite high net worth individuals to move to Scotland if it becomes independent, it wasn’t connected with EU membership.

        • Chris Heyes says:

          OOOooo Rob you live in a bubble called London lol
          British/English whatever people will do any job that’s going what most don’t understand it’s not the job it’s the pay for doing it lol
          Give someone anyone £150 an hour and they will shovel “Sh*t
          I would have picked carrots/cabbages ect if the pay was favorable to me (not the farmer) would i get out of bed for poor pay no i wouldn’t (well i’d get out of bed but not do the job)
          I liked my job when i was working but not to the extent of working overtime no matter what. Also my aim was to make sure i retired at 50. Not for me work then die, but each to his own

        • Dick Steele says:

          The thing is, any HK citizens who do move to Britain (and comparatively few would do so), will be comparatively wealthier than the average EU migrant and will contribute more accordingly

          • Rob says:

            The original comment was about house prices though, which will escalate with up to 3m HK citizens who can easily afford UK housing.

        • Dick Steele says:

          Mrs Thatcher wanted to retain Hong Kong island and China acknowledged that Britain had perpetual rights over the island. But China stated that if Britain did not hand back the island, then it would not supply water or electricity to the colony and could take back the island by force anyway if needs be.

          • kitten says:

            +1
            The lease the British had on Hong Kong was up and China had us over a barrel. Hong Kong had always been on borrowed time. There wasnt much the British could do about it.

            Even trying to support Hong Kong through a blockade with the 2 ? ships the British Navy had left would have been logistically impossible and militarily China could overrun Hong Kong very easily.

            I havent spent much time in Hong Kong but when trying to get things done there it felt much more like I was dealing with a China/Sino-type culture and mostly not even a British veneer.

            Though doubtless the wealthy made their plans to move as soon as the crisis started. (What does this remind you of?).

    • Bazza says:

      You people of today have never had it so good. Think yourself very very lucky you weren’t born 50 or 70 years ago. Nice easy life you have..

      • Moronist says:

        So let’s reverse everything we achieved because blue passports and we can eat our own carrots. Seriously.

      • Rob says:

        I was born 50 years ago, it was a doss. All my education paid for, including my degree (I actually left uni with more cash than when I started) and – with City deregulation happening 9 years before I graduated – had no trouble walking into an investment banking job based on my business nous despite my dad being a steelworker. Came with a final salary pension scheme. My brother, born just under 50 years ago, stayed local and paid £33,000 for a decent house in South Yorkshire which was about 2x his salary at the time.

        My Mum was born 70 years ago and frankly has had a great life, paying £6,000 for a big house in the 60’s. Despite my Dad being a steelworker she could easily afford to stop working after I was born and the nice house was easily paid for. Very generous pension entitlement. Sold the house when my Dad died and retired to a nice bungalow on the coast where her pension is substantially more than her living costs and she keeps trying to bung her spare cash on us kids.

        Rhys, on the other hand, leave uni with a huge amount of debt and is looking at having to spend at least £250k to buy a pokey one bed flat, which – despite him probably being one of the highest paid of his graduating class – is nowhere near being able to raise. He doesn’t get a cosy pension deal either.

        I had a similar conversation with someone I know last year, who is late 60’s, who had a similar view to you. I had to remind her that she had just sold her family house, bought for peanuts in Putney in the 60’s, for a £2 million profit which they were now going blow, once a small retirement property had been bought. But apparently it was young people who have all the breaks now ….

        • Anna says:

          But we are going to be supporting our kids who find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own, so you could say it’s paid forward to some extent.

        • ChrisBCN says:

          Thanks Rob, a great way to illustrate a very real problem that not everybody is able to see. My own extended family story is pretty much the same.

        • SydneySwan says:

          I completely agree with you Rob. The situation is very similar in Oz. I grew up in the UK and got a free university education which even came with a grant for living expenses. After a few years working in the UK I moved to Sydney in the 1990s and bought a 4 bedroom house overlooking the harbour for not very much which is now worth an awful lot. My two sons are busy accruing very large education debts, working part-time to have an income and their chances of buying anything livable within 50 kms of Sydney CBD are pretty remote. Kids today definitely have it much tougher.

        • Nathan says:

          Amen Rob, amen.

        • Navara says:

          @Rob
          Pretty much the same story for me with the exception that now my Mum is funding care from her pension,assets and house sale.

        • xcalx says:

          On the other hand my three sons left school at 16. in1997-99 and 2001 All got apprenticeships. All are now married with 8 kids between them self employed and lead quality lives, have bought or built thier homes worth £320k to £440k and two also have a few rentals each. They all plan to be done working by 50. It’s not all about Uni and London. Opportunities also exist up North for the great unwashed

      • RussellH says:

        I was born 70 years ago – and more.
        🙂

        • Chris Heyes says:

          RussellH born 73 years ago (Dec) lol never had it as good throughout my life left School at 15 no education walked into or out of any job i fancied never a shirker worked until i retired at 50
          From leaving school at 15 was late twice in 35 years (one was only 5 min other was planned late show 2 hour). How many can say that
          19 years and a few months one job 10 years another job
          23 years very happy retirement up to now lol

    • Doug M says:

      I voted remain, but I hate the ‘betrayed young people’ argument. I’m 60 and lived my whole adult/working life in the EU without ever getting a choice. Many of those who originally voted to join were older and imposed joining on the young. The age argument works both ways and has little validity.
      Anuj, the problem with means testing is on many benefits it costs more than it saves. We have a very unequal society, it’s most definitely not being corrected by winter fuel payments and free travel passes. Directing anger at pensioners? Maybe start pointing your anger towards the PM, Gove, Farage and their merry band of liars.

    • AJA says:

      @Anuj Be careful what you wish for. You also benefit from that triple lock pension guarantee as it increases your pension that you will eventually receive (unless you don’t intend to retire?). Besides young people need oldies to retire to give up their high paid positions for people to be promoted into.

      As for the despicable comment about importing people to do crap jobs we don’t want to do perhaps it is time to actually pay decent salaries for those jobs and for we rich to pay more towards receiving these “crap” services? Every job is worthwhile and no one deserves to be treated badly or have others look down condescendingly at them for doing a job that someone else wouldn’t consider doing.

      • chabuddy geezy says:

        The triple lock is unsustainable and will have to be stopped eventually. The state pension is a pyramid scheme.

        • RussellH says:

          So are most public sector pensions in this country. That is the way the treasury like it.
          Other countries do it differently – in Switzerland the state pension is paid out of its own fund and if it gets too depleted then the necessary increase in contributions normally has to go to referendum.
          But here the treasury hates the idea of a pot of government money that it cannot control and disburse as it wishes.

        • AJA says:

          Rubbish. It’s sustainable if the government wants to pay it. Taxes might have to rise but I think its worth paying more today to get a decent pension in the future. I have more of an issue with the increase in state pension age.

          • Genghis says:

            It’s completely unsustainable. I certainly don’t plan on receiving a state pension. There’ll be too many old people and not enough young’uns working to pay taxes.

            And NI is a tax. It’s not really “saving” for the future. I pay lots of NI. I doubt I’ll ever see it again.

          • The Savage Squirrel says:

            When the state pension was introduced an average worker could expect to receive it for 6 years of retirement before they died. If this relationship had been held then the state pension age would now be 77….

        • kitten says:

          Working class pensioners get peanuts in this country compared with the cost of living. Not everyone gets the breaks. The UK pension is one of the lowest in the Western world. It has slightly improved since 2016. But is still near the bottom compared with other Western economies.

          The triple lock was put in place to work towards improvement in this situation over time. Many pensioners still have to choose between food and keeping warm after a lifetime of work.

    • Navara says:

      @Anju
      When you have paid Employer’s and Employee NI for 40 years you may change your views

    • Nigel says:

      Perhaps if a higher percentage of younger voters had cast a vote the result would have been different – just saying ☹️

      • illuminatus says:

        @ Genghis says:
        31 December 12:31
        It’s completely unsustainable +1, I cannot comprehend how people can’t see that!

        • Nick_C says:

          I thought the State Pension was unsustainable over 40 years ago when I started working and started saving and investing for my old age, but I will be getting it when I hit 66 in 2023.

          The Triple Lock should definitely go. The country is broke. The New State Pension basic level is generous, and should not be increased above inflation.

          It is also crazy that I will be entitled to Winter Fuel Allowance when I hit Pensionable Age, as I will be significantly better off than I am currently (and I am already quite comfortable).

          Poorer Pensioners claim Pension Credit. Give them the WFA, free prescriptions, and bus passes. Better off pensioners don’t need them.

          Like Rob, I received a Student Grant and started work free of debt. I was in a final salary pension scheme. I bought my first home for 3 times salary, and got Mortgage Interest Relief.

          As I don’t pay NICs on my private pension, (legally) don’t pay any tax on savings/investment income, no longer have to buy clothes for work and lunches out, and no longer pay £5k a year from my take home pay to get to work, I am substantially better off than someone who has to work for the same gross income.

          I wouldn’t like to be leaving Uni now with a mountain of debt and have to pay a crippling amount to have somewhere decent to crash out after a hard day’s work. I certainly don’t want people in that position to be paying for a real terms increase in my pension when their own salary may not be keeping up with inflation.

          Many pensioners fail to acknowledge how lucky they are.

  • ChrisC says:

    One thing to remember is that an EHIC does not cover the cost – if it were necessary – of repatriation back to the UK.

    In some countries you have to pay the full costs of treatment upfront and then claim reimbursement. In others you will only get a bill for the non EHIC covered charges.

    This link is a good guide as to what is and isn’t included by EHIC in each EU country.

    https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1021&langId=en

    Personally I never thought the ‘insurance’ part of EHIC was accurate as it gave some people false comfort that they were fully covered. I’d have called it something like ‘provision’. But then there wouldn’t be a snappy way to say it!

  • Roger* says:

    Pity about Switzerland, speaking as a regular visitor.

    The only time I used my EHIC or its predecessor the E111 was as an out-patient at a Swiss public hospital. But it was always reassuring to carry the card.

    And what is it about this mob that wants to describe something as ‘global’ when its geographical coverage will be smaller than now?

    • Chris K says:

      Maybe the ambition is to get reciprocal arrangements with other countries added in the future, as we negotiate closer relationships, and rolling over the EU27 arrangements is the starting point (not unreasonably)

      Considering until last week we thought it was gone forever, not a bad show really.

      That said, as having one only ever made my travel insurance 99p cheaper, I think as others have stated it does give a false sense of security. I would never suggest travelling without actual insurance, EU or no EU.

      • patrick C says:

        The card is substantially better than travel insurance. Generally there is no need to upfront hedty hospital fees, no need to pre clear treatment and removes tons of lengthy paperwork. There is no age limit, no pre existing condition limit and no sport exemption etc…
        Travel insurance only improves repatriation and not covered countries…

      • Roger* says:

        What, like the free movement reduced from 31 countries to one?

        My Swiss passport gives me the 31, my UK passport just the one, so at least in this respect I will be less affected than most.

        • RussellH says:

          I assume from what you say Roger that you have a Swiss Passport, not just an Identity Card as I do. I am assuming that I shall be able to enter Schengen with that as easily as I have done in the past, though If I were to have to get a real passport I only have some 15 months validity left on my ID card.
          I have decided that I dislike passports – I have lost two of my last three UK ones because they are too big to keep in a wallet.
          :-((

      • Simon says:

        Agree. This I’da great first step and another sign that pragmatism will win through. Must be tough for all the naysayers. Perfect the world won’t be, but Cliff edge and talk of the like is now being seen to be hyperbole.

        • RussellH says:

          I really do not think that pragmatism is a word that many politicians here know, and if they do, they think it is a dirty word.
          I can clearly remember PM Harold Wilson being constantly slagged off in the 1960s on account of his alleged pragmatism.

      • RussellH says:

        An EHIC does not normally affect the price of the policy. What it does do, in my experience, is reduce the excess on any medical claim to £zero.

      • RussellH says:

        Neither I nor my parents bought travel insurance, unless we were going to the USA, for many years.
        We never paid anything up front, non-refundable hotel bookings and rail tickets did not exist, we did not buy holiday packages.
        Either just bought a train ticket a few days beforehand, or bought a ferry ticket at the port.
        If you got unwell, you just turned round and went back home.
        In spite of there being no E111 and endless border checks and changes of currency, many things were much simpler back then.

    • Brian P says:

      Think it will cover ANZ?

    • RussellH says:

      At least they are not (yet) telling us it will be “world beating”.

  • Roger* says:

    At least my UK driving licence will still be valid in CH and the other three countries.

    • Andrew says:

      And for the rest of the EU you’ll need an international driving permit from the post office for £5.50. Oh, the humanity! However will we cope.

      • RussellH says:

        From gov.uk:-
        Driving in the EU from 1 January 2021
        You will still need to carry your UK driving licence with you.

        You do not need an international driving permit (IDP) to visit and drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

        You might need an IDP to drive in some EU countries and Norway from 1 January 2021 if you have:
        1. a paper driving licence
        2. a licence issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

        The problem with getting an IDP is the hassle, not necessarily the expense. Though I would have objected to that when I first started working in Switzerland.

        • Pangolin says:

          What’s the hassle with getting an IDP? I got one a couple of years ago so I could hire a car to drive around South Korea (a bit hair-raising as the SatNav would only work in Korean).

          • Anna says:

            Indeed, you used to need one for the Cayman Islands, you either did it for £5 at a UK post office or paid $20 on top of your rental car when you picked it up.
            They stopped this because someone pointed out that it is forbidden under the Geneva Convention, or something. I need to look that up to see where else it applies to!

  • Voltron says:

    How is this scheme funded? Is it by the UK government or a joint venture with EU?

    • patrick C says:

      If I remember correctly the health systems refund each other…
      I.e. the nhs pays the local guus back…

    • ChrisC says:

      Individual governments and it always has been.

      In the UK there is a specific Department of health office that deals with all the claims and then reimburses the other country.

      And they deal with contra claims the UK would have against other nations..

  • Netxu says:

    Will the EU EHIC card of EU citizen and residents still be valid when travelling to the UK? Can’t find this info on the NHS site.

    • Anna says:

      I would imagine that is part of the agreement, however the procedure is that the cost of treatment is claimed back from the country of residence.

    • Michael C says:

      If you are an EU national LIVING in the UK, you can apply for an EHIC here:
      https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/

      • Netxu says:

        Thanks Michael. I meant EU nationals living in the EU.
        I have relatives in the UK and I was assuming that the next time I visit them my EHIC card would no longer be valid, but maybe I’m wrong.

        • Sandgrounder says:

          It is a reciprocal agreement, so yes your card should still be valid Nextu. It is probably best to view the EHIC website provided by the state who issued it to determine what your card will cover.

        • Louise says:

          I’m resident in Germany. We have to have health insurance, therefore I have a German EHIC card which I will use when I’m in the U.K. if I need to. Just had to swap my driving licence for a German one too. Lost some categories but it will keep me within the law here.

          Brexit; the gift that keeps on giving…

  • John says:

    Brexit AND EHIC, that sounds very cake and eat it.

    • Peter says:

      I never understood the phrase ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it.’
      If I buy a cake I generally eat it, and share it if it’s a big cake.
      I do get your point though. It’s good to get to still retain some of the benefits I guess though.

  • Anna says:

    EHIC is one of the many things EU members states have tried to wriggle out of fulfilling their obligations on. This one’s been going on for years:

    https://www.which.co.uk/news/2013/05/eu-targets-spain-after-hospitals-refuse-holidaymakers-ehic-321334/

    Hundreds of instances where people requiring medical treatment were taken unwittingly (often by private ambulances which plied for business with local hotels) to private clinics and hospitals which weren’t covered by EHIC. My friend’s mother had a brain haemorrhage on holiday in Spain; the ambulance summoned by the hotel manager was contracted to take her to a private facility where staff made her pay 3000 euros up front before they treated her.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      Spain is a corrupt place, you can expect to be ripped off there, especially if you are a tourist and you don’t speak the language. This is just one small example of Spanish corruption.

      • Anna says:

        Generally, you’re not more likely to be ripped off as a tourist in Spain than you are anywhere else. Corruption in Spain is far more systemic and mainly affects things like the awarding of business contracts and appointing people to certain jobs. This goes right to the top of Spanish society – a member of the Royal family served prison time recently for misuse of funds and the former King got a huge amount of negative publicity this year after fleeing the country when it was revealed that he had been funneling millions of euros to his German mistress. Idealistic types who think the EU is all liberte, egalite and fraternite really need to find out a bit about the individual member states!

        • Anna says:

          https://english.elpais.com/spanish_news/2020-08-04/the-downfall-of-spains-juan-carlos-i.html
          If you”ve got 10 minutes to spare, this is a good synopsis of the shennigans!

          • Sandgrounder says:

            Spain is rip-off central. From people losing their shirts on property development scams and high pressure timeshare sales, to hidden fuel charges on your hire car. Everyone wants their cut, exploitation of someone in a medical emergency for a percentage as you describe is considered morally acceptable. Stealing under €400 is a minor offence, you only get a fine regardless of how often you are caught for it, so pickpocketing is rife. Bill padding in restaurants is pretty unusual though, in my experience.

          • Anna says:

            Sandgrounder, all those things are crimes but don’t really come under the banner of corruption. And hidden fuel charges is more linked to which hire company you use, not where you go on holiday. For pickpocketing, I imagine London is very similar.
            Like everything, it is caveat emptor on timeshare; we bought a week in Mijas for £1000 20 years ago, used to to go all over the world (e.g. New Zealand, Hawaii, Bermuda, Mexico), then received 3000 euros cash (i.e. considerably more than we paid for it) this year when the company sold off a chunk of their property portfolio.

          • BLG says:

            @Anna. Plus 20 years of maintenance fees and RCI (or similar) membership and exchange fees would paint a truer picture. For a moment you made owning a timeshare sound quite the thing to do.

          • Anna says:

            Lol BJ, maintenance fees plus exchange fees have come to around £500 per year on average over the past 20 years. This was dwarfed by the cost of the accommodation had we had to pay rental – you’re looking at $2k per week for a lot of the places we’ve stayed at. We definitely got a good deal out of it!

        • John says:

          Remind me again whose chums it is who been getting all the COVID data analytics contracts without going to public tender over here, and who got the first peerage after being recommended against by the standards committee (having conveniently given a few million to the conservatives)… but it’s other countries we should be reading up on corruption in.

          • Anna says:

            It’s only comparable if laws are being broken in both instances, not just if you don’t approve of it. Poor ethics is not the same thing as corruption, so – apples and oranges.

          • Nick_C says:

            You think Covid contracts should have gone to tender in the normal way, with ITTs published in the OJEU? We would still be waiting for ventilators and PPE if that had happened!

    • TGLoyalty says:

      So it’s the whole member state not the corrupt ambulances / general manager, I’m 99% they would be in on the scam.

      It’s a horrible time to learn you’ve been scammed and unlikely you’ll ask for a transfer in circumstances where time is critical.

      Before I did my first trip to Spain in the late 2000’s the very first page warned of the ambulance scam and to ensure you know when the local public hospital is and insist on being taken there.

      • Anna says:

        And yet you want to stay in a union with these types of places and keep giving them your hard earned tax money? This is what I don’t understand about Remain voters!

        • ChrisBCN says:

          That’s the problem. Many people have never tried to understand the opposing ‘side’ which has led to divisions. It is of course about more than one positive or one negative thing – it is a balance of both positive and negative things, whichever side you supported.

          • RussellH says:

            Chris, there may be a balance of both positive and negative things as you see it, but that is almost certainly not true.
            I doubt if Farage or Bill Cash think that there is anything +ve about the EU.
            Equally, there is nothing about the EU that would make me want to leave. Of course it has many flaws, but they can, over time, get sorted. To my mind, the flaws are always going to be massivlely outweighed by the advantages.

        • RussellH says:

          For some reason, many in the UK seem to think that corruption does not happen here, only in other countries, when of course it happens here too. Robert Maxwell? Dominic Chappell? to mention just two.
          I remember a seemingly very pleasant English man I met at a trade fair in Vienna – he was known to a number of others that I knew well and trusted. One evening he started boasting about how he and some others had sued a German local authority over corrupt administration.
          Three months later I read in Travel Trade Gazette how his own company had suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed with huge debts. St Matthew’s Gospel, Chap 7 Verse 3 comes to mind.

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