If you live in Spain or are in the process of moving to Spain, it is important that you are aware of any prescription charges that you may have to pay.
The co-payment system means that most people, including UK pensioners, are required to pay a percentage of their prescription costs when visiting a Spanish pharmacy. The percentage that will need to be paid will be included in your prescription.
The scheme is handled by each autonomous community, meaning that the process may vary slightly between the different regions.
The payment percentage will differ from person to person, as it will be calculated on each individual situation and on declared annual income. This percentage will be taken from information about your income obtained from the annual resident tax declaration (IRPF).
If you have not made an annual resident tax declaration in Spain, there will be no indication on the prescription of how much you must pay. This means that blanket charges will be made of 40 per cent for non-pensioners with low incomes and 10 per cent for pensioners. It is, however, important to remember that no income information means no cap on your monthly contribution.
In the longer term, the intention is that information on the rate of payment will be incorporated into your Spanish SIP (Social Security) card. A chip inside your card will link to your resident tax declaration. This information will be much more specific, meaning it will be increasingly difficult to obtain a discount if you haven’t presented a tax return in Spain, even if it is a zero one.
Obviously, we would all prefer that prescriptions were free, but drugs and medicines do remain a substantial drain on the economy. Because of this, the new process also means that some treatments will now have to be paid for in full, as they are no longer available on prescription in Spain. If you are unsure of anything, speak to your pharmacist, who will be able to give you more information about this and will be able to discuss all options that are available to you.
The Spanish government are trying to keep the payment scheme as fair as possible. That is why they are using this means of testing to ensure that people's contributions are administered fairly.
Below is a guide of the charges which are correct as of September 2018.
Pensioners with an income below €18,000 will have to pay 10% towards the cost, up to a maximum of €8.23 per month. (Valenciana region is exempt from the 1st of January 2016)
Pensioners with an income above €18,000 but below €100,000 will have to pay 10% towards the cost, up to a maximum of €18.52 per month.
Pensioners with an income above €100,000 will have to pay 60% toward the cost, up to a maximum of €61.75 per month.
Non-pensioners with an income below €18,000 will have to pay 40% toward the cost, with no maximum. (Valenciana region is exempt from the 1st of January 2016)
Non-pensioners with an income above €18,000 but below €100,000 will have to pay 50% toward the cost with no maximum.
Non-pensioners with an income above €100,000 will have to pay 60% toward the cost with no maximum.
** Note that all prices are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are adjusted each January.
** As of January 1, 2021, pensioners with incomes below 5,635 euros per year, or 11,200 euros in the event that they are not obliged to file a personal income tax return, are exempt from co-payment charges.
There are a number of groups that are currently excluded from paying prescription charges. These are:-
Valenciana Region Exemptions
Please note that from the 1st of January 2016, pensioners and those in receipt of state welfare with an income less than €18,000 per annum are exempt from all prescription payments. Children under the age of 18 with 33% disabilities or more and adults over the age of 18 with 65% or more disabilities are also exempt.
Pharmacy Insurance Cover
At Health Plan Spain, we offer a pharmacy option as an add on to any of our policies.
This option provides reimbursement of 50% of your prescribed drugs and medicines up to a maximum of €200. So for example, If your annual prescription costs were €400, you would receive a reimbursement of €200 for the year.
This additional cover can only be added on the contraction or renewal of the health insurance plan you decide to purchase.
There are no waiting times or exclusions with this option. All insured parties on your policy must take the option, which costs €4 per person, per month.
Please contact us for further information or to get a quick quote on any of our plans you can visit https://www.healthplanspain.com/sanitas/sanitas-health-plans.html
Updated: September 09, 2022 CET
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